Moneyball nominated for 6 Oscars, my DVD extras review

Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Moneyball was nominated for six Oscars. The film received four nominations in roughly the same categories that it received Golden Globe nominations:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Actor: Brad Pitt
  • Best Supporting Actor: Jonah Hill

Unfortunately, Moneyball didn’t win at the Globes, though that could be chalked up to the Hollywood Foreign Press not caring much about an American film about an American sport like baseball, instead favoring The DescendantsHugo, and The Artist. The latter two films were set in Europe or were produced outside of Hollywood. That’s not to say that those movies aren’t deserving, far from it. All three of those films are more deserving of Best Picture than Moneyball.

The other two nominations were technical: Editing and Sound Mixing. While not as showy as Hugo and The Artist, I think Moneyball has a shot at both of those awards. Real footage of the 2002 season was seamlessly integrated into the film, and the sounds of the game are better and more realistic than in any other sports film I’ve seen/heard.

Deleted scenes

  • Billy Tells Art: Play Bradford – Ambivalent. Leaving the scene in would’ve shed light on Mike Magnante’s issues, which weren’t covered in great depth in the movie. On the other hand, Beane comes off as mean, calculating, and unsympathetic. That’s probably not what they were going for, even if there’s some truth to it.
  • Tara and Billy Dinner – Was this the only deleted scene featuring Kathryn Morris? I knew going into Opening Day that her scenes were left on the cutting room floor. As much as I like Morris as an actress, it’s better that the character of Tara Beane is not in in the film. Some obsessives on the big screen do better with a good wife as emotional support. The Moneyball Beane is not one of them.
  • Peter Offered GM Job – Should’ve left it in. Another great bit of repartee between the two leads. Plus it’s closer to the actual truth.

Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game – Part epilogue, part Cliffs Notes version of Moneyball the book. More for the casual/non-A’s fan. A’s fans know this inside and out. Still good to have quotes from Michael Lewis, Aaron Sorkin, Beane. Plus props to the unseen Paul DePodesta. Includes a jarring, unwelcome interview with Alex Rodriguez, who arrogantly touts his “character”.

Drafting The Team – Emphasizes that many actual/former ballplayers were cast in player roles. Nice interviews with Stephen Bishop (David Justice) and Ken Medlock (Grady Fuson).

Moneyball – Playing the Game – My favorite featurette in the package. Covers set design, costumes, and cinematography. I really loved Wally Pfister’s (Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer) explanation of how and why he shot the movie the way it was shot with lots of shadow and on film instead of digital video. When the A’s finally leave the Coliseum for a new ballpark somewhere, Moneyball will always be a reminder of how good the Coliseum could be.

Adapting Moneyball – A little back-and-forth among the team of screenwriters and the producer Rachael Horovitz. Watch it and read Roger Ebert’s recent blog post, which has a little inside baseball about how the script(s) came together.

The notable feature missing from the package is a commentary track, whether from the director or actors. The featurettes are a good substitute, but I really wanted a commentary to get a lot of the small details. That’s okay, maybe there’ll be a collector’s edition down the road. If the A’s hadn’t won a World Series in my lifetime, I might feel a little more bitter about how the 2002 season ended. But think about it for a second. One of our favorite teams of all time was documented in a bestselling, critically acclaimed book and a lovingly crafted movie adaptation. We’ll have that forever. How many teams get to have that? Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch was a great memoir of his lifelong love of the Arsenal soccer club. The British film adaptation was not bad, though it strayed far from the book. The American adaptation was so terrible that the miracle of the Red Sox finally winning couldn’t salvage it. No, I don’t expect Moneyball to win the Best Picture Oscar. Is it the best baseball movie of all time? Most definitely. And that’s good enough for me.

P.S. – As of yesterday, Moneyball has made $106 million in domestic and foreign box office revenue. Someday the A’s payroll might actually approach that number.

35 thoughts on “Moneyball nominated for 6 Oscars, my DVD extras review

  1. I don’t think it will win Best Picture, but it would be nice if it got the Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay trophies…As A’s fans, we’ve had not just a movie made about our team, but a GREAT movie made about it. The sad part is, the drama currently being played out – the A’s drive to go to San Jose – might even make for a better film. Good guys – A’s – vs bad guys – Giants. Fans of the same team at each other’s throats, etc. But what are the chances of two major motion pictures being made about the A’s? Slightly more than none.

  2. Good post. I was torn between getting Moneyball or Yogi Bear on Blu-ray.

  3. My problems with Moneyball are the same as with The Sosh Network. Both films fail to convey why the subject matter is important. In 10 years, these aren’t films film students will be watching. Each film’s subject matter is about a new concept that’ll revolutionize their respective industries, but the storytelling mode is uncertain of itself, like it can’t decide whether it’s Capra or Cassavetes. Dramatic moments will swell, but then the movie can’t figure out what to do with itself and then transitions into the next scene. The number of writers who’ve touched this script is evident. Overall, I liked Moneyball but I’m puzzled by its critical acclaim.

  4. It’s not a perfect movie, by any stretch of the imagination. Inconvenient facts – such as the powerhouse roster the A’s actually had that year – are conveniently left out of the script. Almost no mention of Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Chavez, Tejada. But it is a funny movie with a lot of intense moments and dry humor.

  5. I would take The Natural, Bull Durham, or even Field of Dreams over Moneyball. It’s a good movie and I loved the shots of the Coliseum/Oakland, but aside from the Bill King calls, it really wasn’t anything special.

  6. The reason why Moneyball was such a good move is because the storyline and how the A’s managed for so many years to compete in small market Oakland.

    Brad Pitt’s line of “there are big market teams, small market teams, then there is 50 feet of shit, then there’s us”…..Is classic and 100% true.

    Jonah Hill playing a serious role was quite impressive considering this is the same guy who was in “Superbad”?

    All the things Beane did were copied by other teams, he set a standard for years to come in MLB and how he went after undervalued players with saber-metrics, statistical analysis, etc….was revolutionary in itself.

    But Moneyball does not win World Series, it wins division titles and playoff appearances. Now with every team copying Beane’s model he needs $$ to compete in this day and age.

    The movie portrayed Beane and DePodesta in a very good light and you gotta love the scene where Billy Beane punks David Justice in the batting cage. Or when he sits down with Scott Hatteberg trying to convince him to play 1st base with Ron Washington.

    Overall it was an excellent movie worthy of all the nominations it has gotten recently. Brat Pitt and Jonah Hill were superb and now the entire nation knows about the A’s and their struggles over the years.

  7. The actual book of course is much better than the movie. Having said that, I’m still amazed that 1) a movie was ever even made and 2) high profile directors and actors also starred in it.

  8. @Sid,
    Haven’t seen the movie yet, but wow! Did BB (by way of BP) really say that about the Oakland “market”?

  9. I LOVED Moneyball the book (and anything else Michael Lewis wrote). I liked Moneyball the movie a lot. But Bull Durham is easily the best baseball movie of all time, and it’s not even close. I don’t think any other baseball movie is as enjoyable or relatable for both baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike.

  10. Bull Durham is a romantic comedy disguised as a sports film. It’s good, but it took a very easy route. Moneyball was a much tougher story to make, and unlike most other sports movies it eschews the romantic angle completely. No gimmicks to bring people into the theater. No overly romantic depictions of the game. For those reasons Moneyball is a better baseball and sports movie than Bull Durham.

  11. Rocky is usually thought of as the best sports movie of all-time, it had a romantic angle. Raging Bull relied heavily on emotional sub-plots. I don’t think that social dynamics hinder a story, they usually enhance it. Heck, Moneyball isn’t “just baseball,” the movie was promoted as a David vs. Goliath tale, with noticeable nods towards our current economic climate. There is also the daughter/dad relationship that fills the role of your typical male/female romance.

  12. Want to see two great sports movies? “Secretariat” and “Miracle.”…

  13. If you can find it, there was a good interview of Lewis, Hill, Beane and Pitt on Bob Costas Studio 42. It was broadcast last September but I first stumbled accross a rerun of it a few weeks ago.

    A little sideline…The spring training scenes were filmed at Blair Field in Long Beach where the Dirtbags play. One clue is those eucalyptus trees you can see beyond the outfield fence don’t grow in Arizona.

  14. As a movie aficionado with over 600 Blu Rays, I would rate Moneyball int the top 10 of all time sports movies alongside would be Jerry Maguire, Rocky I, Seabiscuit, Bull Durham, The Natural, Field of Dreams, Hoosiers, and Rudy.

  15. The first Bad News Bears movie. Epic storytelling, sharp humor, pathos and fabulous performances by Walter Matthau and Victor Morrow.

  16. We can’t leave out “Happy Gilmore,” “The Waterboy” and the Marx Bros. “Horsefeathers”

  17. The Moneyball movie players look like ballers and the film scenes integrate well with with actual game footage. There are even a few ex-minor league players from the area I’ve heard about who were extras in some of the scenes at the Coli. It’s Hollywood no doubt, but it depicts a true story which was condensed to something that could have easily been a mini series to tell the whole story. I thought it was a good movie about a team I like at a place in which I’m familiar to seeing them play. I’m not gonna lie…it was fun for me. Lewis wrote a great book about a special time. He was following a team that had been winnning and coincidentally was there when they caught lightening in a bottle with the streatk.

    I think one huge difference between Moneyball and comedies like Bull Durham or Major League and even drama’s like 61 is that none of these movies came close to portraying the physical aspect of baseball correctly. Tom Berenger is trying in ernest to puf drama in his swing or throwing the ball down to second but he looks horrible and unconvincing, Tim Robbins pitching while successful at being funny, fails at being a reasonable replica of anything close to what a pitcher looks like. Even Barry Pepper as Roger Maris or Thomas Jane as Micky Mantle in 61 have crappy swings. In contrast for example, Stephen Bishop who playes Justice has a some skill and when he’s swinging the bat in the cage, he looks right. The movie moves back and forth between scripted scenes and footage pretty easily.

    Is that announcer who is heard at the end whining “I told you so that this wouldn’t work…you have to bunt and blah blah blah” supposed to be Joe Morgan?

  18. Just watched the movie again…the more i see it, the more i wish that someone like Paul Haggis had screen wrote and directed it. I thought it would resonate more with folks if it was told from many perspectives and storylines as it was in the book, instead of focusing solely on Beane. Nevertheless Pitt again gives an Oscar worthy performance and the end gave it a much more romantic appeal with them showing Beane turning down the BoSox and take my criticism with grain of salt because I’m not easily moved by most movies.

  19. Guys not to go off point but did anyone catch the point/counter point between Monty Poole and Mark Purdy on Chronicle live?

  20. @McGillicuddy The studio 42 interview with Bob Costas comes as part of the 3 disc combo you can get from WalMart

  21. yeah i posted my summary of the purdy/poole discussion in the last thread.

  22. @Mike – Thanks. That trailer isn’t on PPV. I guess it’s Bluray only. I haven’t bought it yet but will…

    -As far as Jose, right or wrong, he was seemingly ushered out of baseball a season or two before he could have made it to 500 HR which would have entered him into the HOF discussion and driven poor old Bud even more batty. If the A’s want Bud’s attention, a 47 year old Canseco as the A’s new DH would probably get a lot of stuff on the front burner.

    -Was there a performance reason Bonds was not offered some kind of contract either after 2007. Does colusion exist in MLB? Shoot, he might even still be getting deferred money from the Giants. Both of those guys on the roster would have everything MLB needs to sort out on that front burner on HIGH. The curiosity seekers alone would probably bump the attendance over 2mil.

  23. @letsgoas, tusks for put the recap up. A friend called me up to tell me after the chronicle live replay.

  24. So, Jose saw Moneyball and was inspired to contact Beane to DH? I saw the King’s Speech and was inspired to overcome my stammer to use my voice in unify 1940s England on the brink of collapse. However, much like Jose I missed the boat on that one. Life is full of regrets.

  25. @Tony- Yup, BB via BP really did say that in the movie.

  26. I think it wins the Editing Oscar, maybe the Sound one. Outside shot for Jonah Hill too as BSA. What really amuses me is that the A’s have “Moneyball,” an inspiring tale of innovation and the struggle of the little guy vs. the big guys… and the Giants have “The Fan,” a film in which a complete raving psycho kills their star rookie in a steamroom and kidnaps their MVP’s son, only to get filled full of lead at home plate at the end. Forgive me if I somehow find this accurately reflective of the dynamics of the current situation with the T-rights.

  27. HBO has acquired rights to develop “Game of Shadows” into a movie. Won’t that be fun for Giants fans?

  28. In the bonus footage of the DVD, there is a confrontation between Billy Beane and Art Howe in the dugout, during an actual game because he brought in Magnante over Bradford and Magnante gave up a homerun. Did the dugout confrontation really happen?

  29. Major League > Field of Dreams > The Natural > (tempted to put some crazy old movie like Alibi Ike or Kill the Umpire here > Moneyball > most kiddie baseball movies like Rookie of the Year and Angels in the Outfield (90’s version filmed at the Coliseum) > Safe at Home

    I still need to see The Babe Ruth Story which is supposedly worse than Safe at Home.

    I couldn’t make it through Bang the Drum Slowly without falling asleep so I left that off.

  30. I agree with Brian’s top three. I still haven’t seen moneyball.

  31. @ML Agree that “Moneyball” was a challenging book to make into a movie. However, no points for level of difficulty: It has to stand on its merits as a film.
    At 2hrs, 6 min, it dragged a bit, even though I loved the source material. They should have cut about 20 minutes.
    Part of the problem was the moviemakers’ insistence on having some kind of standard cinematic climax. Since the A’s never won anything with the “Moneyball” approach, they went with the 20 game winning streak, which was a reach. Then they went on to try to draw a parallel with the Red Sox, implying Boston’s success using sabremetics was a validation of what the A’s were doing. Maybe true, but somewhat attenuated and still not terribly satisfying from a cinematic standpoint. This gave us two semi-climaxes, neither fully satisfying, and a drawn out, stop and start ending.
    So, very good. Not great.
    Totally disagree that the romantic comedy aspects of Bull Durham constituted taking any kind of “easy route.” Comedy is one of the toughest genres of film to make. Of all the comedies I’ve seen in my life, less than half were any good at all, and half of those were only intermittently funny. The only genre I can think of with a lower success rate is horror. So making a comedy that’s funny from beginning to end, even on repeated viewing, is quite an accomplishment.
    Bull Durham is still a joy to watch 23 years later, after more than a dozen viewings. We’ll have to wait and see how well “Moneyball” stands the test of time.
    Also disagree that “Bull Durham” romanticizes the game in the way typical sports movies do. There are no towering shots up into the lights. Part of the novelty is its focus on the un-glamour of the minor leagues, which is not the typical movie approach. A good deal of its charm is presenting the players as regular people who talk about prosaic subjects like wedding gifts up on the mound. Authentic? I don’t know, but it feels authentic, and you can’t ask much more from a movie than that.

  32. @bartleby – I disagree completely about the romantic comedy issue. It’s a huge factor in Ron Shelton’s work. Quick survey of Ron Shelton sports movies:

    Bull Durham – High romance factor. Best film he ever made. Also perhaps the most autobiographical.
    Tin Cup – Also high romance factor. Also featuring a “minor league” pro athlete played by Kevin Costner.
    White Men Can’t Jump – Romance a side story. Entertaining but lighter than the previous two.
    Play it to the Bone – Another love triangle. Mostly an excuse to get a role for Shelton’s wife, Lolita Davidovich.
    The Great White Hype – Another boxing failure was written by Shelton, directed by Peter Berg.
    Blue Chips – Probably should’ve had more romance instead of focusing on actual basketball players with little on-screen charisma.
    Cobb – Little romance factor. Forgettable except for Tommy Lee Jones chewing scenery.

    I haven’t seen The Best of Times. I heard that sucked too.

    The point? Ron Shelton needs the romantic angle to write anything decent. All of his other work pales by comparison. That’s just as well, because one of the typical weaknesses perceived by studios of sports movies is that they can’t bring in a female audience without “pandering” to them by including a romance.

    Bull Durham doesn’t glamorize the game, but it romanticizes the grittiness of the minors every bit as much as many other baseball movies do the majors. Children-themed movies (Bad News Bears, The Sandlot) play on an adult’s nostalgia about Little League. Field of Dreams mines the father-son relationship for every last drop of emotion. The Natural, another highly romantic film about baseball and love, had superior source material from Bernard Malamud even though the ending was changed.

    To me many of these movies are like playing three chords to put together a pop song. It may be well executed (most often not) but you aren’t exactly pushing the envelope. Other films did, like A League of Their Own. Fear Strikes Out. 61*. The Bronx is Burning. I like romantic comedies a lot. I just don’t think that sports movies should have to resort to using romance or other pull-the-heartstrings techniques to resonate with an audience. Sadly, that’s endemic to much of the stuff coming out of Hollywood.

  33. @ML Not sure I get what you’re saying about RomComs. Virtually any “sports” movie is really another genre, just with sports as a backdrop. Historical drama. Biography. Romantic comedy. You get the idea. a “sports” movie which was truly nothing but sports would be a ballgame.
    In “Moneyball”s case, it’s “plucky underdog triumphs.” Or more precisely, “plucky underdogs triumph by persevering in their beliefs and being smarter than everyone else.” Not hugely original. Also, it cheats a bit to get there (e.g. turning Art Howe into a caricature/cardboard Hollywood villain; trying to turn the 20 game win streak into a standard Hollywood, climactic “triumph.”).
    Actually, the great irony of turning the 20 game win streak into the film’s climactic triumph is that anyone who really understands sabremetics understands that a 20 game win streak is not materially different than say, 18-and-2. They both indicate good teams, but not much more.
    So the fact that “Bull Durham” is a RomCom is, to me, irrelevant. It’s a difficult genre to make well, and “Bull Durham” is one of the best of its kind. As for the three-chords analogy, think of what Keith Richards or Jimmy Page has done with those three-chords. All three-chord compositions are not alike.

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