Hollywood Reporter award-season columnist Scott Feinberg on Christian Bale and Ford v. Ferrari. “If Fox can convince its stars and Oscar voters that [Christian] Bale is actually a supporting actor in the film, then he could be a contender. If Bale and Matt Damon wind up pitted in the same category, however, my hunch is neither will make it.”

HE reply: If Academy voters can be convinced that Olivia Colman was delivering a lead performance in The Favourite and (reaching back almost four decades) that Ordinary People‘s Timothy Hutton, whose psychologically burdened Conrad Jarret character was the be-all and end-all of that film and who appeared in each and every scene, gave a supporting performance…if they buy this horseshit, they can be convinced of anything.

But there’s another angle here, and that’s that Bale’s Ken Miles, the late British race-car driver, is not doing anything especially new or head-turning here. He’s playing yet another variation of the same asocial skeezy guy that he played in The Fighter and The Big Short. Bale is constitutionally incapable of playing smooth, measured, steady-as-they-go guys who don’t glare or twitch or scrunch their face up or bulge their neck veins…okay, maybe this isn’t fair as Bale does turn it down here and there in Mangold’s film. But Bale will always exude a kind of curious, facial-flicky weirdness, and I’m saying this as a huge, hyuuuge admirer of his Dick Cheney.

Sidenote: Bale’s all-time biggest career mistake was wearing mandals in The Big Short. When I saw his big, protuberant man-toes in that film I went “ohhhh, no…please!!!”

Spot-on Feinberg: “Not to suggest all car racing movies are the same or will be regarded as such in the awards season, but I suspect that Ford v. Ferrari will ultimately enjoy a trajectory fairly similar to Ron Howard‘s Rush (’13), for which a supporting actor (Daniel Bruhl) got a lot of heat, including Critics’ Choice, BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG noms, but ultimately came up a bit short with the Academy in all categories.”