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And the Oscar goes to …

A GRIP ON SPORTS

In honor of the Academy Awards being handed out on television last night, we've decided to shine a light this morning on sports movies. And in honor of Seth MacFarlane being last night's host, we are going to make sure the post is a little awkward, somewhat funny and isn't as well-received as it should be. Read on.


••••••••••

• A little inside baseball for you. We sometimes run across subjects we find interesting, but have to sit on them for a while due to the press of breaking news, ie., live sporting events that have to be covered. Luckily, sometimes the expiration date of said items hasn't occurred when we finally find a day to pass them along. Such is the case today. Last week, we read this fun USA Today story that gave out Oscars to a whole bunch of sports-related movies. Everything from Best Picture to Best Athletic Performance by an Actor. But we didn't have the space – or the time – to pass it along, so we filed it. Today we have both and lo and behold, the Oscars were handed out last night, so it makes the story appropriate. But we don't stop there. We never “stop there.” We always go a little bit too far. Today, we take the extra step of putting our own spin on the awards. We highlighted a few categories from the USA Today story, passed along their nominees and then did what critics have been doing for years, listing who would win (for this, I'm predicting a vote of sports fans) and who should win. The last category, of course, is our opinion. As we are playing the role of Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael or Dan Webster, our opinions are what really matter. But we invite you to add yours as well. We'll start with some of the more technical categories and move on to the big three at the end.

• Best Documentary

Nominated: Hoop Dreams; Murderball; Pumping Iron; Senna; When We Were Kings

Who would win: Hoop Dreams

Who should win: I admit, this is a category I was a bit deficient in a few months ago. But I've seen a couple more of these films – see, playing the role of critic and using the correct terms – recently. Though Hoop Dreams was a former favorite, When We Were Kings has passed it.

• Best Performance by Athlete in a Cameo

Nominated: Cam Neely, Dumb & Dumber; Lee Trevino, Happy Gilmore; Mike Tyson, The Hangover; Brett Favre, There's Something About Mary; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Airplane

Who would win: Mike Tyson, hands down.

Who should win: When Kareem grabbed the little boy in the airplane cockpit (pictured) and gave him a message for his dad, the emotion he showed made one thing clear. He wasn't acting. He was saying things he wanted to say to every fan in America. Priceless.

• Best Athletic Performance by an Actor

Nominated: Kevin Costner, Tin Cup; Kevin Costner, Bull Durham; Dennis Haysbert, Major League; Burt Reynolds, The Longest Yard; Denzel Washington, He Got Game

Who would win: Kevin Costner, Tin Cup

Who should win: Kevin Costner but in Bull Durham (pictured). I never really believed Costner could carry the water on 18, not with that swing. But I did believe he could turn around a fastball. And his delivery of some of his lines, now that was a guy who played baseball. By the way, we're not getting into this category, but Tim Robbins' performance as a pitcher in the movie? By far the worst since Ray Milland in It Happens Every Spring.

• Best Actress

Nominated: Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby; Geena Davis, A League of Their Own; Tatum O'Neal, The Bad News Bears; Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Who would win: I have to believe Davis (pictured) would win this one.

Who should win: Though I always have a place in my heart for catchers, I have to go with the USA Today writer on this one. Tatum O'Neal was perfect, whether selling maps to stars homes or throwing a curve ball.

• Best Actor

Nominated: Kevin Costner, Bull Durham; Gene Hackman, Hoosiers; Dennis Hopper, Hoosiers; Paul Newman, Slap Shot; Sylvester Stallone, Rocky

Who would win: This one is too close to call. Either Costner or Hackman would take the prize.

Who should win: Though it's more of a supporting role, Hopper's turn as Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch (pictured), the alcoholic former star and embarrassment to his son, is perfect. And he drew up the picket fence at just the right time, along with the best basketball advice ever: “Now, boys, don't get caught watchin' the paint dry.”

• Best Picture

Nominated: Bull Durham; Caddyshack; Field of Dreams; He Got Game; Hoosiers; Major League; Rocky

Who would win: Not really sure, though if a comedy can win, it would be Caddyshack (pictured).

Who should win: My opinion has changed over the years. I saw Field of Dreams with my dad, so that skewed those results a bit. I played baseball – and caught – so Bull Durham always tugs at my heart. But when it comes to carving out time on a Sunday afternoon for any of these movies – one of my crucial judging criteria – I always make room for Hoosiers. It never seems to get old.

•••

• Gonzaga: Danger Will Robinson, danger. Thursday's game at BYU is not only crucial for the Cougars' fading NCAA hopes, it is also senior night. An upset of the highly ranked Zags is the only thing that would make the night perfect.

• Washington State: There was not a lot going on in Pullman (or around the conference for that matter), yet Christian Caple found something to blog about this morning. He deserves an award.

• EWU: Though most people have no clue about it, Weber State has been one of the more successful programs in the nation recently.

• Preps: The state basketball tournament draws were held yesterday and, though I know this is hard to believe, some schools got hosed and others got a break. It happens every year. Greg Lee has this year's gaffes in his story. He also has a blog post with all the matchups.

• Mariners: Finding M's stories will get a bit tougher next month when the Seattle Times goes to a pay system, but we'll figure something out. For now, we have a bunch of stories to pick from, including Jerry Brewer's column on the lessons that can be learned from Mike Morse's career. … With Mike Zunino behind the plate, the Mariners won 8-3 yesterday behind a Raul Ibanez home run. … We also have stories on a pitcher you know and one you should probably get to know.

• Seahawks: Not really a Hawks story, but Danny O'Neil has some thoughts on a press conference held at the combine that are worth reading. … It looks as if the 49ers are going to trade Alex Smith.

• Sounders: With a week until the regular season starts, the Sounders are still tweaking their roster.

•••

• Hope we didn't bore you this morning. And I hope you are somewhere other than Spokane today. It's snowing pretty well here. I guess that's to be expected. After all, high school spring sports begin today. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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