Dear Oscar Film Journal,
It is time for me to write in you again.
Today's film is one of last year's Best Picture nominees, the historical car racing drama Ford v Ferrari, starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, and directed by James Mangold. FvF chronicles the saga of a heated rivalry between two egomaniacs, one a true artist in the realm of automobile design, the other a journeyman whose business philosophy is about quantity at all costs until sales begin to slump. Henry Ford II, grandson of the company's legendary founder, desperate for new ideas, gets talked into buying out the bankrupt Ferrari, but its owner Enzo Ferrari instead sells to Fiat and hurls insults at Ford via the aborted deal's broker, Lee Iacocca. Ford is so enraged he vows to design a race car that can break Ferrari's winning streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans annual race. This fit of hubris sets the film's story in motion, as its two main characters, former racer Carroll Shelby and current track wiz Ken Miles are assigned to the case. Shelby (Matt Damon, channeling Tommy Lee Jones's down-home frankness) owns a car design company and oversees the project, falling back on his raw salesmanship and chutzpah to up-manage the corporate swine above him. Ken Miles is an uncompromising expert racer and mechanic seemingly possessing of a symbiosis with cars; he can innately feel when to speed up, when to shift gears, when to lay off, etc. His lack of people skills however are a turnoff for Ford's top brass, and the company's senior VP Leo Beebe (a smarmy-as-ever Josh Lucas) is always maneuvering to get him ousted from the team. But Shelby goes to bat for Miles, who proves his virtuosity at the 24 Hours of Daytona with a stunning come-from-behind win. All roads lead to Le Mans, and the epic showdown between the two auto titans.