We get in the spirit of one of the most glamorous nights in Hollywood….ah, who are we kidding, we were bored as sin too. Here are the last ten UCL Champions and the ten Best Picture winners that most closely represent them (note: owing to my spotty knowledge of pre-1990s Oscar winners, forgive the bias towards more recent movies. Also, we’re not riffing on the name of the movies; rather the general character of the movies and the likelihood of their victory).
2010: Inter Milan — The Hurt Locker. Mourinho’s men scrapped and clawed their way to the Special One’s second UCL, overcoming the behemoth Barcelona along the way (does anyone really remember who Inter beat in the final? OK, it was Bayern, but still). Similarly, Kathryn Bigelow overcame the highest grossing film of all time (Avatar) to win BP in a fairly large upset.
2009: Barcelona — Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Easy comparison. Sextuple, meet the clean Oscar sweep.
2008: Manchester United — The English Patient. Fitting for the only all-England final of the last ten years, the stereotypical English film of the 1990s that also won Best Picture. We would have used The King’s Speech if we hadn’t already.
2007: AC Milan — Million Dollar Baby. Both wins featured a potent blend of the old (Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Nesta, Maldini, Seedorf, Inzaghi) and the young (Hilary Swank, Kaka).
2006: Barcelona — The Departed. The very good film in which Scorcese finally gets his Best Director Oscar. Likewise, the very good Barcelona team in which Ronaldinho finally gets his UCL title.
2005: Liverpool — Shakespeare in Love. Written off from the very beginning, Liverpool continued to surprise at every turn, edging its way to the final, going down three goals to Milan, and then storming back. Similarly, Shakespeare in Love was supposed to be another faceless victim of Spielberg’s blockbuster Saving Private Ryan, but surprisingly managed to prevail in the end.
2004: Porto — Crash. 2004 was Mourinho’s big splash into the crisp waters of European football. Similarly, Paul Haggis had been mostly a TV writer before he released Crash, which to everyone’s great surprise topped Brokeback Mountain in the Best Picture category.
2003: AC Milan — The Godfather Part II. The final in 2003 was the first contested between two Italian teams… which reminds me of another time when the world was wooed by a certain Italian charm–when Al Pacino and company stole the show in 1974 with the riveting ode to the Sicilian mafia.
2002: Real Madrid — The Titanic. Another easy comparison. Up until that point, the Galacticos assembled by Florentino Perez were the most expensive team ever created. And at the time James Cameron’s magnum opus was created, Titanic was the most expensive film ever created. Both provide examples of the rare instance dollars alone purchase a title.