Arrow-right Camera
Sports

John Blanchette: Academy again has its blinders on when it comes to diversity and snubbing of sports flicks

The “White Oscars” are back on Sunday night, which should make for some awkward speechifying when the stars take their usual aim at the boogeyman in the White House.

It’s hard to be holy about inclusivity when 18 of your 20 acting award nominees are white.

Oh, and you female directors? We’ll catch you next year, gals.

If it seems as if we just went through this a few years ago, we did. But then, Hollywood never seems to get the message – about anything.

For decades, the Academy’s snubbing of sports-themed movies has been a travesty resulting in howls of protest from, well, from this space and this space alone. But when you clamp your jaws around a cause, you don’t let go.

As it happens, there is a sports epic up for Best Picture: Ford v Ferrari, a meaty look at the American car company’s quest to overtake the Italians at Le Mans. It’s all very Rocky-esque, if Rocky had $25 million and engineers-on-demand to train him to beat Apollo Creed.

Anyway, just because one sports movie got through the nomination gantlet doesn’t mean the Academy didn’t miss out on these great flicks:

I’m Not Here: It’s another December night for the Kennel Club when Texas Southern comes to play Gonzaga.

Jojo Rabbit: Grand Valley State assistant football coach Morris Berger tells the student newspaper he imagines having dinner with Adolf Hitler: “It was obviously very sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none.” Berger resigns and collects $90,000 in salary, allowing him to buy many nonimaginary dinners.

Marriage Story: At 3 a.m. after letter-of-intent day, new Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach goes on a brief Twitter rant reviling Mitt Romney and swaps barbs with followers who take issue with it, decrying those “who have called me names.” Because Mike never calls names. And then he deletes it all. He’s all yours, Hail State – for better or worse.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Lakers superstar LeBron James, Instagram’s favorite taco chef, is denied a trademark for the term “Taco Tuesday,” as it’s already being used by 729,000 bars and eateries in America. Menudo Monday remains available, however.

The Edge of Democracy: Proponents revive the push for a downtown football stadium in Spokane, insisting voters were confused when 64% preferred the old Albi Stadium site in a 2018 advisory vote. Unlike the clear-minded majority, for example, that swept the county treasurer into office.

Brittany Runs a Marathon: After approving Nike’s controversial Vaporfly shoes for competition, World Athletics officials are at a loss to explain how a 53-year-old chain-smoking telemarketer runs 26 miles in under two hours and wins the Olympic gold medal.

Bombshell: We’re shocked – shocked! – to find there’s cheating going on in baseball.

Dumbo: President Donald Trump tweets his congratulations to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for representing “the Great State of Kansas.”

Playing with Fire: Washington State running back Max Borghi gets into the risky business of making guarantees – and delivers the winning touchdown after predicting the Cougs would beat Oregon State. He demurs on naming a score for the Apple Cup but does say, “I will be scoring – a lot.” Spoiler alert: not so much.

The Two Popes: Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans isn’t flying solo in dealing with a sexual abuse scandal involving 57 priests. New Orleans Saints PR executive Greg Bensel chips in to help the diocese with its spin. Saints coach Sean Payton awaits divine intervention on pass interference calls as payback.

Joker: Marshawn Lynch returns to give the Seattle Seahawks a hand when they run out of ball carriers for the playoffs. Then he leaves them laughing with his parting advice to young players: “Start taking care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies and y’all chicken.”

1917: Documentary of the most recent season North Dakota State didn’t win the FCS football championship. Includes interview footage with the Bison’s likely opponent in next year’s title game, the Washington Generals.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Washington State lands as its next football coach Nick Rolovich, who runs a wide-open passing offense, has an offbeat sense of humor and actually seems to care about recruiting and winning games in state.

Frozen II: Time stands still as the Seattle Mariners keep missing the playoffs, but this time they confess that’s what they’re trying to do.

Pain and Glory: Play by play announcer Dave Pasch reveals what it’s like calling basketball games with Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

Little Women: Having beaten back challengers at the World Cup and from the White House, Megan Rapinoe and the U.S. women’s soccer team head to court seeking equal pay with the men’s team which was last seen… not in the World Cup.

And finally…

Ford v Ferrari: It’s war when the import auto manufacturer takes a shine to Gonzaga’s international-heavy basketball roster and buys up all the ad time on SWX, so that Gus Johnson and Wendle Ford can’t get a commercial in edgewise.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.