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Cars that outshone the stars at the Academy Awards

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February 21, 2018
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The 90th Academy Awards are looming and the ultimate car chase film Baby Driver has been nominated for no less than three gongs – here insurance experts at Adrian Flux look back in the archives to pick their top 10 cars that star in Oscar nominated films.

Baby Driver was written and directed by Edgar Wright and stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal.

The plot follows Baby, a getaway driver who listens to music on his headphones constantly to offset the problems caused by tinnitus.

The film has limited dialogue but the actors’ actions synchronize with the soundtrack in Baby’s headphones.

The car chase scenes are spectacular and the soundtrack leaves you buzzing.

Baby Driver Academy Awards

Baby Driver has been nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Film Editing (Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss); Best Sound Editing (Julian Slater) and Best Sound Mixing (Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater & Tim Cavagin).

Uber-cool cars, chases, crashes, smashes and the backseat manoeuvres of courting couples are an essential ingredient of most blockbuster movies.

To celebrate Baby Driver’s Academy Awards nominations, Adrian Flux has turned the headlights on to the cars that have outshone the stars in Oscar-nominated films over the years.

Flux top 10 cars in Academy Awards films

Bullitt – Ford Mustang

Bullitt Academy Awards

We start with the Ford Mustang used in Bullitt and raced through the streets of San Francisco by the king of cool, Steve McQueen.

The roller coaster chase is a classic lasting seven minutes with screeching tyres, burning rubber and heart-in-throat jumps and extensive air time for the Mustang.

It has become a benchmark for movie chase scenes and it transformed the Ford Mustang into the pre-eminent macho muscle car of the 60s.

Bullitt won the gong for Best Film Editing at the 1969 Academy Awards ceremony.

Surviving the test of time, in 2007 Bullitt was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The French Connection – Pontiac LeMans

The French Connection Academy Awards

Another classic car chase comes in The French Connection, the 1971 thriller that picked up five Oscars, including Best Actor for Gene Hackman.

Hackman was police detective “Popeye” Doyle, who was behind the wheel of a beaten up Pontiac LeMans that he had earlier commandeered to chase a hitman on a subway train.

It is another of the film industry’s iconic car chase scenes.

As well as Best Actor, The French Connection won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing.

Driving Miss Daisy – Hudson Commodore

Driving Miss Daisy Academy Awards

Changing down a gear or two, we have the 1949 Hudson Commodore which starred in Driving Miss Daisy.

Over a 26-year period Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy) is driven – first in the 1949 Hudson Commodore, followed by two Cadillac Sixty Specials – by her driver, Morgan Freeman, as they manoeuvre through an era when civil rights changes the Georgia in which they live.

At the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990, Driving Miss Daisy received nine nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Makeup, and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the age of 81, Jessica Tandy became the oldest actress to win an Academy Award.

Back to the Future – DeLorean DMC-12

Back to the Fure Academy Awards

Only 9,000 were ever produced but the gull-winged DeLorean DMC-12 earned its spot as a motoring legend when it was transformed into a time machine in Back to the Future in 1985.

The Michael J Fox sci fi was the highest grossing film of the year and picked up a clutch of awards.

They included the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, and the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing, as well as receiving three additional Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy).

The original fim, and the follow-ups, made the stainless-steel DeLorean one of the most recognisable cars of the era.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Zeppelin dirigible

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Academy Awards

Next up is the enchanting Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Writer Ian Fleming, took his inspiration for the car from a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s.

The original Chitty Bang Bang’s motor was from a Zeppelin dirigible and it got its name because of the sound made when the car was started.

The car was designed by the film’s production designer, Ken Adam, and cartoonist and sculptor Frederick Rowland Emett, built by Alan Mann Racing in Hertfordshire in 1967, fitted with a Ford 3000 V6 engine and automatic transmission and allocated a genuine UK registration.

Actor Dick van Dyke, who drove it in the film, said it was “a little difficult to manoeuvre, with the turning radius of a battleship”.

The film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Soundtrack.

Goldfinger – Aston Martin DB5

Aston Martin Academy Awards

The Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery as James Bond – another Fleming creation – in 1964’s Goldfinger is nothing short of a film icon.

The film led to a number of promotional licensed tie-in items including an Aston Martin DB5 from Corgi Toys which became the biggest selling toy of the year.

The car become synonymous with the Bond franchise, even raising a cheer in cinemas when it made an appearance in Skyfall, almost 50 years after its debut.

Goldfinger was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award, being recognised for Best Sound Effects Editing.

Bond, no doubt, celebrated with a martini, shaken not stirred, which, incidentally, is a phrase he coined for the first time in the film.

Grease – Ford Deluxe Convertible

Grease Academy Awards

Grease is the word and Greased Lightning is the song, but the car was a rust bucket Ford Deluxe Convertible – until it went through a three-and-a-half minute rebuild and makeover by gyrating Danny Zuko and his T-Bird pals.

After the big song and dance the Deluxe is converted into a sparkling, high spec passion waggon which even develops the power to fly when Danny (John Travolta) and Sandra Dean (Olivia Newton-John) finally get it on by the time the film’s closing credits roll.

The loved-up couple were nominated for Golden Globe awards for Best Actor and Best Actress and the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

Ghostbusters – Cadillac ambulance

Ghostbusters Academy Awards

Ghostbusters – the original – in 1984 was nominated for two Oscars at the 57th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song.

Originally thought by many to be an adapted hearse, the car was actually a modified 1958 Cadillac ambulance and it transported the intrepid Ghostbusters team in their quest to eradicate the Big Apple of satanic spectres, ghosts and ghouls.

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the film stars Bill Murray and the film’s writer as eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business.

Genevieve – Darracq

Genevieve Academy Awards

You have to go was back to 1953 for the next star car on the starting grid – it’s a Darracq called Genevieve which starred in the film of the same name.

The comedy starring John Gregson, Dinah Sheridan, Kenneth More and Kay Kendall, is about two couples who make a £100 bet before embarking in a London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The script originally called for the rivals to be driving British cars but they finally settled on the delightful French 1904 Darracq and the 1905 Spyker.

Genevieve was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Original Screeenplay and Best Music Score.

Thelma and Louise – Ford Thunderbird

Thelma and Louise Academy Awards

This 1991 film produced by Ridley Scott and Mimi Polk Gitlin stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, two friends who embark on a fated road trip in a Ford Thunderbird.

Now regarded as a classic, it is a tale of aspiration, escape, attempted rape, love, deceit, robbery and murder. It ends with Thelma and Louise cornered by police just 100 yards from the edge of the Grand Canyon.

The final scene shows Thelma step on the gas and drive the Thunderbird over the cliff and to their deaths.

The film received six Academy Award nominations and won Best Original Screenplay. Sarandon and Davis were both nominated for Best Actress.

Did your favourite Oscar-nominated car get a mention in the Adrian Flux favourites? Drop us a line.

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