The Oscars are this Sunday, and as the Academy prepares to select the Best Picture, it falls to us in the automotive community to select another equally fabulous award:The Automotive Oscar, aka “best movie use of cars.” This most coveted award is sure to inspire great controversy, and it’s up to you, the brave readers of this article, to decide who should take home the automotive gold.
The Oscar 2012 movies are full of vehicular visuals, from country romps to high-speed car chases and even time travel. Let’s take a look and see which sweet ride you think is worthy of taking home the trophy for “Best Movie Car.”
Nominee One: “The Help.” This Civil Rights centered film set in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi is a classic car candy store. In addition to a dream team of A-list actors, vintage vehicles play a starring role in the film. In fact, many classic car enthusiasts have applauded this movie’s devout dedication to accurate vehicle depictions. And the nominee categories are:
Best Car Star: The Dark Blue 1962 Cadillac Convertible driven by title heroine, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan.
Best Vehicle Villain: The 1963 Ford Fairlane station wagon driven by the film’s vile antagonist, Hilly Holbrook. Extra evil points for her abusive driving behavior, including flooring her car through dirt roads and even (gasp) using the backseat as her personal beer bottles trash can.
Best Car Cameo For Comedic Effect: The beater 1950 Chevrolet farm truck, complete with trailing plow discs, that Skeeter is forced to drive on a dinner date when her brother makes off with her Cadillac.
What the Critics Say: “My hat’s off to the movie producers for their faithful depiction of all these cars,” says Doane Yawger, reporter for the Merced Sun Star, “That’s no small feat; all it takes is one late-model Camry to ruin the whole scene. Thankfully, that didn’t happen here.”
Fun Movie Trivia: The directors actually solicited antique car clubs to donate vehicles to increase the authenticity of the film, paying car-owners $125 a day for use of their vehicles. They hit the jackpot: 9 vehicles from local car clubs were donated for use in the film.
Nominee Two: Drive. Ok, so it only got one measly nomination for Sound Editing (cough, Ryan Gosling got robbed, cough) but it is an Oscar nominee and it is the ultimate car movie, so let’s take a look at the categories.
Best Super-Hero Alter Ego: Just like Clark Kent and Superman, the 1973 Chevy Malibu driven by Gosling aka “The Driver” in this film serves as his perfect unassuming cover, his “by day” persona that provides great contrast to his moonlight persona as a daring getaway car driver. After all, who would suspect a guy driving a Chevy Malibu? And who would date 0ne? Answer below!
Best Automotive Meet-Cute: While one wouldn’t expect such a gritty, violent movie to borrow from classic chick flick tropes, The Driver meets his lady love, Carrie Mulligan when-wait for it-her car breaks down. Gosling, a mechanic by day, comes to her rescue. The use of a late-model Toyota Camry is also perfect here; the dreary maroon vehicle serves as a perfect correlation for Mulligan’s seemingly average girl persona.
Best Vehicle Villain: Depending on your moral worldview regarding getaway vehicles, a strong contender could be The Driver’s black Ford Mustang 5.0 This sleek black ride brings out Gosling’s dark side; he uses it to hightail bad guys out of heist after heist.
What the Critics Say: “Cars take little precedence in Drive, but each vehicle serves as a reflection of the people who drive them.”-The Mojo Motors Blog
Fun Movie Trivia: Director Nicolas Winding Refn has said the movie is an homage to another great driving movie, Taxi Driver.
Best Use of Time Travel: There’s really only one vehicle featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, but it’s magic, so that definitely constitutes a nom. Owen Wilson’s nostalgia-struck hero Gil Pender travels to the roaring 20’s via a Peugeot Landaulet 184 dating from the same era. Although the film’s couldn’t be more different aesthetically, it’s impossible to see a time-traveling vehicle and not recall the beloved Back To The Future Eldorado, possibly the greatest car star of all time.
What the Critics Say: “The mechanism by which Gil travels back (via vintage automobile at midnight) to his beloved era goes happily unexplained, thus eliminating the sci-fi wheels and pulleys that tend to suck up so much screen time in time-travel movies”-David Edelstein, New York Magazine
Random Movie Trivia: The Peugeot apparently met director Woody Allen’s requirements that the chosen vehicle have “a driver’s compartment with a convertible roof and a covered passenger compartment.” (Not the highest standards…but neither again neither were Gil Pender’s when he got together will the shallow Inez-burn!)
That’s all the coverage we have! Now it’s time to cast your vote for who should win The Automotive Oscar! Vote below.