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5 iconic nominees for Best Tennis Picture of all-time

Feb 23, 2019
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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All eyes will be on Hollywood on Sunday evening as the 91st Academy Awards take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Nominees include Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born for Best Picture, while the likes of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Rami Malek and Glenn Close, Lady Gaga and Olivia Coleman are up for Best Actor and Actress awards respectively.

So, that got us thinking – which movie would claim the prize of Best Tennis Picture of all-time? Below we outline our nominations and conclude which movie would take home the Oscar.

1. Wimbledon

Released: 2004
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
IMDB: 6.3/10
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau

The oldest movie in our list of nominations, Wimbledon is a British romantic comedy, starring Paul Bettany, who plays Peter Colt, a washed-up tennis pro, and Kirsten Dunst, who portrays Lizzie Bradbury, a budding star of the game. After bumping into each other in the early days of Wimbledon, Bettany and Dunst’s characters fall in love. Their relationship becomes the catalyst for Colt’s dramatic improvement on the court but seems to distract Bradbury from her game. The movie culminates with Colt making a deep run in the tournament and reaching the final.

IMDB User Reviews

“This is a real fun movie to watch when you want to cheer, cry, and just feel great – lots of love, and lots and lots of tennis.” – intelearts

“It’s very funny too, and Paul Bettany shows a particular talent for timing, comedy and looks on camera.” – Rich B

“All in all, an entertaining date flick that holds even more appeal for tennis fans.” – Fong_Chun_Kin

2. Battle of the Sexes

Released: 2017
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
IMDB: 6.7/10
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough

Battle of the Sexes is a biographical sports film loosely based on the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Starring Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs, the movie documents the lead-up to the match at the Houston Astrodome and takes on issues relating to gender inequality in sport and society as a whole. The film was a critical success with Carell and Stone both earning nominations at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

IMDB User Reviews

“Emma Stone provides a fine performance as one of the most influential Americans of the last century.” – joev_55114

“This is a very well made movie that will be remembered for its great performances.” – kjproulx

“I lived through this era as an avid tennis player. Much more than the trailers even glimpsed at, this production is among the best movie in years.” – tabuno

3. 7 Days in Hell

Released: 2015
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
IMDB: 7.1/10
Starring: Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Fred Armisen

A mockumentary, directed by Jake Syzmanski, 7 Days in Hell was inspired by the John Isner – Nicolas Mahut men’s match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships which, at 11 hours and five minutes, is the longest tennis match in history. Starring Andy Samberg and Kit Harington, who shot to fame as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, the movie premiered in July 2015 on HBO Now.

IMDB User Reviews

“How unexpected some of the things are in this movie is what makes it so funny. Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington play their roles perfectly.” – wjcochrane

“If your looking for a comedy which is different and unique then this will be for you.” – calum55

“I think they designed this story and its characters so well. The actors totally nailed it.” – Reno-Rangan

4. Break Point

Released: 2014
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
IMDB: 6.0/10
Starring: Jeremy Sisto, David Walton, Adam Devine

A US comedy starring Jeremy Sisto and David Walton, Break Point is about two estranged brothers, who are also former tennis doubles partners, who reunite and decide to enter a Grand Slam tournament. Other notable actors in the movie include JK Simmons, Adam DeVine and Amy Smart. The film had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2014 and was released on video on demand in July 2015.

IMDB User Reviews

“The comedy is simple and fresh and you won’t regret watching it.” – Aktham_Tashtush

“Funny and heartwarming, a pleasant surprise.” – Ramascreen

“Best movie about tennis and family! There’s comedy. There’s drama. And yes, there’s tennis.” – carlobustamante

5. Borg Vs. McEnroe

Released: 2017
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
IMDB: 7.0/10
Starring: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård

A biographical sports drama, Borg Vs. McEnroe focusses on the famous rivalry between legendary tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, the film’s crescendo features their clash in the men’s singles final on centre court. Starring Sverrir Gudnason as Borg and Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe, the movie received generally favourable reviews.

IMDB User Reviews

“This is a fabulous film and everyone involved in the making of it should give themselves a huge pat on the back.” – pere-25366

“Both Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf do an excellent job in portraying their respective characters.” – mjdk2

“This movie gives a beautiful insight on the battle between two tennis icons.” – pellekil

And the (Tennis) Oscar goes to…

While all of the above are worthy contenders, we see this a straight shootout between Borg Vs. McEnroe and Battle of the Sexes. Both movies are centred around two of the most dramatic events in tennis history and are executed brilliantly. With star-studded casts and favourable reviews, they’re hard to separate. Ultimately, though, we’re going for Battle of the Sexes. Emma Stone’s portrayal of the defiant Billie Jean King is arguably the greatest performance in any tennis movie, while Steve Carell’s expertly crafted depiction of Bobby Rigg was outstanding.

Winner: Battle of the Sexes