Ford v Ferrari (2019)
James Mangold (Cop Land, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) is the director behind this atmospheric and exhilarating movie centered around the 1966 Le Mans race in which Ford for the first time managed to dethrone Ferrari, thanks in large to driver and mechanic Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and car builder Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon). Mangold chooses a classical sports film structure slash classical biopic structure, and his solid craftsmanship makes this a successful merger. The film builds characters and relations patiently before ejecting us into a fast-paced finale which really gives us the feel for the mechanisms of racing and life in the cockpit. It should be mentioned that Ford v Ferrari has an element of simplification and bad guys vs. good guys which feels unnecessary in an otherwise brilliant production, but thanks to Christian Bale's pure, impeccable performance, we somehow feel that whatever world-view presented must just have been the way it was. With his unique ability to embrace his character completely, in everything from dialect to mannerisms, Bale makes Ken Bates an irresistible character, despite his brashness and peculiarities. It's an award-worthy performance, had it not been for the fact that he's up against Joaquin Phoenix' Joker this year.