PS: Favorite Oscar-Nominated Best Picture Sports Movie?

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Which of these Oscar-winning Best Picture movies with a sizeable portion of the plot dedicated to a sports*-related story line is your favorite?

*Sports is defined as any individual, team or equipment competition against another or others of physical and/or mental skills superiority for entertainment, pride or monetary gain.

See the partial list of Oscar-winning Best Picture Sports movies here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls045219042/
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urbanemovies

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Posted 9 months ago

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ElMo

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Dammit, I thought I had suggested this one (but no, only winners)
Not sure for Ben-Hur, Around the World or Mash, it's not exactly the sport that drives the narrative and I'm pretty sure there are other non-Sports nominee that feature a sport or a game at some point. Having these two removed wouldn't hurt the poll that much but at least the remaining movies would be legitimate sports or game-themed movies.
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urbanemovies

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I am not taking about a passing reference or token element. I think it would be fair in all the options that you might not think of a a sports movie, it is "sizeable portion of the plot". I wholeheartedly disagree that the three movies you cite don't belong in the answer pool. While, I understand your point, I disagree for the following reasons.

A) They meet the requirements of the definition.
*Sports is defined as any individual, team or equipment competition against another or others of physical and/or mental skills superiority for entertainment, pride or monetary gain.

B) Sports come and go, but these movies feature the sports of their day.
At the time these movies were set: Pool, Horse Racing, Gladiatorial Games, Chariot Races, Quiz Shows, Gentlemanly Wagering were either the leading competition or among the leading competition of their day in these historical-based movies. Just they are not they leading sports today, doesn't mean they weren't, especially within the scope of era the movie is set in.

C) The competition or sports-related theme dominates the movie.
I think at least a quarter of the movie resolves around the Ben-Hur chariot race, the Around the World in 80 Days circumnavigation speed competition/wager and the MASH football game/wager. In fact, we probably see more competition in each of these movies, than we see in some of the movies we wouldn't give a second thought to including,  Jerry Maguire (football), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (boxing) among others.

D) Oscar-Nominated Best Picture movies are a different breed.
By definition, these movies have to not fit the traditional mold, just to get into the conversation, as sports movies and the Oscars are anomaly in itself. So, the fact they may not fit your traditional view of what is a sports movie isn't surprising. It is the fact they are different that got them into category in the first place. I find less odd they are included, than if they weren't as more of a gross omission.

E) The question doesn't overstate the claim of being in the Sports genre.
Instead, of asking of a movie is a "sports movie or "in the sports genre" it asks only if the movie has a "sizeable portion of the plot dedicated to a sports*-related story line" It is the successful melding of the non-sports and sports narratives that got these films their nominations, without both I doubt each would have been nominated in the first place. Each of these movies, given some serious thought are by definition "Sports" movies, as well as could be classified in multiple other genres too, just like any other movie. I find the case much easier to prove they are sports movies, than they aren't sports movies.

Bottom line, if a poll taker disagrees with the classification, they can choose not to vote for it. Otherwise, it is an available option for those agree and it would be their first choice. Options that are truly debatable will never get any serious traction to contend anyways.
(Edited)
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ElMo

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I don't know, for me a Sports film is a film where the protagonist plays or is involved in a sport or a game or any form competition, that's all, but it's got to be in more than one instance, sports must be part of the his or her life, Jerry Maguire is about sports business, it fits the definition. 

Now, I wouldn't just label Ben-Hur as a Sport movie, it's an epic, a historical drama, a swords-and-sandal movie but I've never heard nor read anyone calling it a sports movie though I agree it features one of the greatest, most iconic, most heart-pounding sports sequence in history. 

If that's enough to qualify, fair enough, but then you should also consider these movies where a sport/game/competition drives the plot significantly:

Deliverance (rafting)
Babe (sheepherding competition) 
Gangs of New York (bare-knuckled boxing)
127 Hours (hiking)
American Graffitti (car racing)

or maybe...
Apocalypse Now (surfing)
Spellbound (skiing) though sport doesn't dominate these movies.....
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That said after a second thought, "Around" can qualify since the whole plot revolves around a wager... I'm also having second thoughts with "MASH";..
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urbanemovies

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I would agree those others would be questionable?  I can see a bit of a case for each of these, but none check all the boxes like these other movie do. I wouldn't claim any to be a "sports movie" Most of them are more recreational, rather than a stakes-based or an organized league. As well as, it is hard argue they are central or significant portion to the plot, with the exception of Deliverance. I would include it, other than the fact the competition is more of a Man vs. Nature type. But, if someone else called it a sports movie, I might disagree, but don't think I would call it a stretch. 

I can respect your not being able to view Ben-Hur as a sports movie. I just think the case is as compelling it is. I don't think you would argue the chariot race is central to the Ben-Hur movie. It is often called the greatest scene in film history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_(1959_film)#Chariot_race_sequence

I think the real issue is you are viewing the movie, as someone who lives in the 21st century. Regardless, the modern day equivalent called harness racing is not disputed as a sport, while not nearly as popular as chariot racing was in its day. I don't see any difference between the popularity of Gladiator Games/Chariot Racing as being the the top two sports of the Roman era as Soccer aka Football/American Football are today in the modern world. Nor do I see any difference between the arenas that host those sports,The Colosseum (capacity  50,000 and 80,000) and Wembley Stadium (capacity  75,000 and 90,000). Neither were built for knitting classes, both were built to host the premiere sporting competition of their times.
(Edited)
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ElMo

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I don't think I would go as far as saying Ben-Hur is NOT a sports movie, ironically, I wrote this in my review:

"If 1925 had the race and the thrills, the 1959 one had a bigger scope, bigger budget, the colors, the talking and all the determination of a big studio like MGM to prove a 50's audience that TV wasn't yet the pinnacle of spectacular entertainment. When I hear my Dad talking about going to the movies, like "Ben-Hur", "Spartacus", "Guns of Navarone" or "Taras Boulba" you would think he went there, inside the screen. And right now, I can't imagine the eyes of people staring at the screen during the chariot race, there comes a moment where you stop watching the moment as a plot element, but as a real race, and it never, never suspends your disbelief, it's like at any new viewing, Messalah can finally win."
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urbanemovies

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 I agree it would likely fall in the fifth to seventh genre (near the end) I would classify it as after these: Adventure, Drama, History, Christian. Again, all of these movies as Oscar contenders, the sports in all them serves more as a backdrop for the real story and as a genre they are probably fit the mold of couple other genres before claiming they are a "Sports" movie.
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urbanemovies

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I am not sure if your objection is based on Ben-Hur, Around the World or Mash having enough of the film dedicated to chariot racing, road rally racing or football, or whether those sports qualify as "sports"

Regardless, most movies will mix in drama, comedy,action,adventure to broaden the people and to make the movie interesting. So,it wouldn't be surprising for any movie to be viewed as falling into another genre, as well. The realm of sports is pretty wide and can include everything down to Marbles and Tiddlywinks. All these movies feature the basic requirements of exertion and skill, as well as, individual or team competition.

sport /spôrt/ noun plural noun: sports
1. an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
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urbanemovies

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Poll Header Corrections

Which of these Oscar-nominated Best Picture movies with a sizeable portion of the plot dedicated to a sports*-related story line is your favorite?


*Sports is defined as any individual, team or equipment competition against another or others of physical and/or mental skills superiority for entertainment, pride or monetary gain.

See the partial list of Oscar-nominated Best Picture Sports movies here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls045219042/
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Award Season  2019 bump
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Blind Side or Ben Hur
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urbanemovies

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Two excellent choices. I like how sports is just the backdrop of both movies or vehicle used to drive the Oscar-nominated story line and performances.
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