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Ferrari Is Snubbed at Major Film Awards

  • February 16, 2024
  • 6 min read
Ferrari Is Snubbed at Major Film Awards

Ferrari, despite receiving critical praise internationally, has been snubbed by the Academy Awards due to take place on 10th March 2024, receiving not one single Oscar nomination. The scenario was replicated at the Golden Globes where the film was also overlooked. The upcoming BAFTAs on 18th February see the film nominated in one category, only, for Best Sound. Director Michael Mann and star Penelope Cruz, however, both picked up awards at the Gotham Awards in December 2023.

FERRARI – The Review

Ferrari is based upon on the 1991 biography ‘Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races, The Machine’ by motorsport journalist Brock Yates. The movie follows both the personal and professional struggles of Enzo Ferrari, the Italian founder of the car manufacturer of Ferrari S.P.A., in the summer of 1957. The film stars Adam Driver in a measured, yet brilliant performance, next to Penelope Cruz as his forlorn partner. The wealthy cheque-writing founder of his car racing and motor manufacturing empire.

The film weaves a behind-the-scenes narrative that sheds light on Enzo’s duplicitous lifestyle with a former ‘secret’ flame with whom he had had a love child. A woman whom he secretly still professed to love in 1957. All amid an implied on-going lifestyle of amorous infidelity. This neat personal and professional combination of storytelling is fused with action packed GT racing and Formula 1 trials. This visual cross referencing sets the tone for a truly magnificent film.

Ferrari has been described as a ‘soap opera’ by some of its detractors. Even the Hollywood organ of influence that is Variety described Ferrari as being like a cross between John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix (1966) and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972). Variety alludes to the shallow off-track shenanigans of Formula 1 drivers in Grand Prix as having a modern day cousin in Ferrari. This particular parallel is as glib in its assessment as it is inaccurate. Grand Prix’s characters were seen as playboy stereotypes with trophy girlfriends in the shape of French siren-chanteuse Francois Hardy, and screen legend Eva Marie Saint. One of Ferrari’s drivers certainly echoes this particular ethos, but he is the only character in Ferrari to do so. Enzo Ferrari’s lifestyle is, however, far more complex. Therein lies the strength of the screenwriting by Troy Kennedy Martin. I’d venture that this posthumous work is surely his finest?

Martin had a dual screenwriting career in both Cinema and TV. Most notably in TV at the BBC in the 1960’s with Z-Cars the police series set in Merseyside’s Kirby ‘Newtown’. Here he began the technique of merging personal lives with on-going crime solving plots. In the 1970’s, in a more liberal era of neo-realism, he took this technique a step further with ITV’s series The Sweeney, noted for its ‘no punches pulled’, gritty, action packed dramatisations. He was the right man to craft this screenplay adaptation of Yates’s book. The tone chosen by Miami Vice’s creator, the Hollywood director of Heat, Michael Mann, creates an appropriate European tone, owing more to French and Italian ‘existentialist cinema’ of the 1960’s and 1970’s via Ferrari’s interpersonal relationships

ACTION V DRAMA?

All you action hungry petrol heads need not be disappointed. Every car in this film is real. Period Formula 1 and GT cars race along twisting mountain roads, through the streets of Turin, and into stunning ancient towns. The visual homage to Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix has point-of-view cameras strapped to cars at a driver’s eye line. Modern day camera technology also enables this wholly cinematic experience to go much further. Ferrari’s audience-in-the-race experience is seen from every conceivable angle. The cars are actually raced through Italian city streets, and around the hairpin bends of Italian racing circuits. Exhilarating? You betcha!

Nevertheless, Mann is no spectacle loving slouch. There is a morality play at work here too. Both in terms of a historical racing perspective, and a personal one.
This coupling of personal and professional regret is expertly set-up. All judged within Enzo Ferrari’s desire to win. In Michael Mann’s Ferrari the chances of Enzo losing-out both professionally, and personally, exist at every twist and turn in this masterful movie.

Just watch the one trailer. The official one. It’s big screen time. Leave the sofa. Watch Ferrari in London’s West End. Be prepared for a treat, plus a few genuine surprises.

FERRARI’S SCREENWRITER, TROY KENNEDY MARTIN

Scottish screenplay writer Troy Kennedy Martin was not a prolific man in the movies. In TV he co-created and wrote many scripts for BBC TV’s Z-Cars. He did the same for Euston Films and ITV’s The Sweeney, a decade later. A hitmaker once again in the 1980’s. He returned to BBC TV with the 1985 award winning political thriller series The Edge of Darkness, which also became a 2010 movie remake, starring Mel Gibson. Movies came in the shape of The Italian Job (1969), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), and Red Dust (2004) to name but three. Now we have the long-awaited posthumous Ferrari.

Martin died aged 77 in 2009 in Ditchling, Sussex.

FERRARI’S DIRECTOR, MICHAEL MANN

The late Troy Kennedy Martin’s screenplay had been decades in the works. The late Sydney Pollock was originally slated to direct. Ferrari has at least twelve producers cited in the on-screen credits. It is directed by Miami Vice’s creator, the American filmmaker Michael Mann. Director of The Last of The Mohicans (1992) and Heat (1995). He is also famed for his debut made-for-TV prison movie The Jericho Mile (1979). Mann also directed Thief (1981) with James Caan. Thief UK premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August 1980 at Edinburgh’s Odeon. Screened in its original director’s cut under the earlier moniker of Violent Streets. A cut that remained unissued till 1995 as ‘The Director’s Cut’, which was later extended into ‘The Director’s Special Cut’ in 2014. The esteemed American film critic Roger Ebert described it as, “One of the most intelligent thrillers I’ve seen”. 43 years later it remains one of the greatest Crime movies ever made. Mann never looked back. He went on to further acclaim with his epic ‘Neo Noir’ Tom Cruise thriller Collateral (2004), which grossed over $220 million with two Oscar nominations. A huge journey forwards from the mid-1970’s when Mann studied for an M.A at The London International Film School in Shelton Street, Covent Garden. London. Just a few streets away from the new Garden Cinema in Covent Garden’s Parker Street.

Mann recently directed the opening episode of the TV series Tokyo Vice

About Author

Henry Scott Irvine

The published author of Procol Harum's hardback Omnibus Press biography, Henry Scott-Irvine's writing began in the script departments of the British film industry. He continued as a Film & TV 'Music & Arts' researcher. He has a long background in published journalism. A radio producer-presenter since 2009 as well as a producer of the award winning documentary film Tales From Tin Pan Alley. He's a successful campaigner for securing listings and preservation for London's music & film heritage sites.

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