Oscar-Winning Sports Movies

The sweet science has had the most success with the Academy

When sports and movies come together in the right way, the result is great cinema. However, it has only been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a handful of times. Here are the seven sports movies that have won multiple Oscars, ranked from fewest to most.

 

The Champ (1931)

Sport: Boxing

Oscars: Two (Best Actor, Best Story)

Wallace Beery plays an alcoholic former heavyweight champion trying to make a better life for him and his son (Jackie Cooper). Oscars went to Beery and screenwriter Frances Marion for Best Story, which was an award given until 1956.

 

National Velvet (1944)

Sport: Horse Racing

Oscars: Two (Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing)

Elizabeth Taylor became a star at 12 in this story of a young girl and her racehorse. For this movie though, the Academy Award winners were Anne Revere for her performance as her mother and Robert Kern for his superb editing, especially during the final race.

 

Raging Bull (1980)

Sport: Boxing

Oscars: Two (Best Actor, Best Film Editing)

Robert De Niro put on 60 pounds for his gut-wrenching portrayal of former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta and earned Best Actor honors for the year. Director Martin Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker also won her first of three Oscars for her work.

 

The Fighter (2010)

Sport: Boxing

Oscars: Two (Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress)

The story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his big, difficult family also provides an in-depth look at the Lowell, Massachusetts Acre neighborhood. Christian Bale won an Academy Award for his portrayal of his crack-addicted brother, and Melissa Leo won for her performance as their mother.

 

Rocky (1976)

Sport: Boxing

Oscars: Three (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing)

The story of a club fighter (Sylvester Stallone) who gets a shot at the heavyweight title beat out "All the President's Men," "Bound for Glory," "Network," and "Taxi Driver" for Best Picture honors. Director John G. Avildsen and editors Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad also took home awards.

 

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Sport: Track and Field

Oscars: Four (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score)

The Best Picture winner for 1981 tells the story of Olympic sprinters Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, but the most timeless aspect of the movie is Vangelis' Oscar-winning score. Colin Weiland also won for his screenplay, as did Milena Canonero for Costume Design for her attention to detail with the 1920s track clothing and gear.

 

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Sport: Boxing

Oscars: Four (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor)

Hilary Swank won her second Oscar for her portrayal as an aspiring female boxer, and Morgan Freeman earned his first in four tries for his performance as one of her trainers. But the night belonged to Clint Eastwood, who earned his second Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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