Roeper’s Baseball Movie Awards: Some ‘Natural’ selections

Just in time for the Oscars, our movie man reveals his best baseball film ever, and his picks in many other categories

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Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in ‘‘The Natural’’

Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in ‘‘The Natural’’


Here’s the windup and the pitch.

With the 93rd annual Academy Awards taking place Sunday night, we thought this would be the perfect (game) time to hold the Baseball Movie Awards, with an academy of one (yours truly) selecting the all-time best actors, actresses, one-liners, et al.

Batter up!

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “Trouble With the Curve”

Kim Basinger, “The Natural”

Glenn Close, “The Natural”

Rosie O’Donnell, “A League of Their Own”

Kelly Preston, “For Love of the Game”

And the winner is…Kelly Preston, who gave a grounded, funny, authentic performance as single mother Jane Aubrey, who brings out the best in veteran Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel. Even when Billy is on the mound in his final start and going for a perfect game against the Yankees, it’s Aubrey who’s there with him every pitch of the way.

Best Supporting Actor

Wilford Brimley, “The Natural”

Harrison Ford, “42”

Tom Hanks, “A League of Their Own”

James Earl Jones, “Field of Dreams”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Moneyball”

And the winner is…It’s a tie between Tom Hanks (“THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”) and James Earl Jones (“People will come, Ray. People most definitely will come…”)

Hey. They’ve had six ties at the Oscars—most famously when Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand had an equal number of votes for Best Actress of 1969—so we can have a tie as well. We’re the Academy!

Best Actress

Drew Barrymore, “Fever Pitch”

Nicole Beharie, “42”

Geena Davis, “A League of Their Own”

Amy Madigan, “Field of Dreams”

Susan Sarandon, “Bull Durham”

And the winner is…Geena Davis. All due respect to the other nominees, but they were on the sidelines rooting for their significant others. Geena took the field and played the game.

 Best Actor 

Chadwick Boseman, “42”

Gary Cooper, “The Pride of the Yankees”

Kevin Costner, “Bull Durham”

Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Robert Redford, “The Natural”

And the winner is…Robert Redford. Legend—and it’s more legend that documented history--says Redford played baseball with future Dodgers great Don Drysdale when they were kids, and Redford had enough “natural” talent to warrant a tryout with the baseball team at the University of Colorado. (Redford’s baseball back story is about as murky as Roy Hobbs’.) Regardless, the aging Golden Boy certainly looked the part at the plate and on the field wearing No. 9 for the New York Knights.

Best Picture

“The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings”

“Bull Durham”

“Eight Men Out”

“Field of Dreams”

“The Natural”

And the winner is…“The Natural.” Critics say it’s corny, sappy, sentimental and basically a fairy tale—and that’s exactly why it’s my favorite baseball movie of all time. BASEBALL is corny, sappy, sentimental and basically a fairy tale!

Also in our lineup: a number of categories they DON’T have at the Oscars:

Best Baseball Scene That Doesn’t Take Place on a Baseball Field

Young Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) strikes out the Babe Ruth-like Whammer (Joe Don Baker) in a sun-dappled field near a locomotive train and a summer carnival in “The Natural.”

 Most Ferocious Use of a Baseball Bat in a Non-Baseball Movie

Robert De Niro as Al Capone proves to be the ultimate contact hitter in “The Untouchables.”

Best Baseball Movie of This Century You Might Not Have Seen

“Sugar” (2008), with Algenis Perez Soto as Miguel “Sugar” Santos, a Dominican pitcher trying to make it to the big leagues.


Least Believable Portrayal of a Chicago Softball Player

Rob Lowe, “About Last Night…”

Best Non-Baseball Scene in a Ballpark

John Candy takes Ally Sheedy to a picnic on the field in Comiskey Park in “Only the Lonely.” (The scene was filmed in October 1991, not long after the last White Sox game at the old ball yard.)

Best Fictional Villain in a White Sox Uniform

David Keith’s Jack Parkman in “Major League II.”

 Best Baseball Mom

Oak Park native and Steppenwolf great Amy Morton (aka Chicago Police Sgt. Trudy Platt in “Chicago Fire/Med/P.D.”) as Henry’s mother in “Rookie of the Year.”


 Best Score (Musical, That Is)

Randy Newman, “The Natural.” By a country mile.

Best Movie About Being a Baseball Fan

“Fever Pitch”

Worst Movie About Being a Baseball Fan

“The Fan”

Best Sportswriter(s)

Studs Terkel and John Sayles as real-life, legendary sports reporters Hugh Fullerton and Ring Lardner, respectively, in the Sayles-directed “Eight Men Out.”

Most Hiss-Worthy Sportswriter

Robert Duvall’s cynical Max Mercy in “The Natural.”

Best Catch of a Foul Ball by Fan

Ferris Bueller grabs a foul ball off the bat of the Braves’ Claudell Washington at Wrigley Field on June 5, 1985.

 Most Ridiculous Catch of a Home Run by a Fan

In “Taking Care of Business,” the Cubs’ Mark Grace hits a homer against the Angels in the World Series, and Jim Belushi literally swings from a flag pole to make the catch.

Best Announcer

 Harry Doyle, aka Bob Uecker in “Major League.”

 Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Costner, for “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” and “For Love of the Game.”

Honorable mention: Charlie Sheen, for his performances as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the “Major League” movies, and as White Sox center fielder Happy Felsch in “Eight Men Out.”

Best One-Liner not from “Field of Dreams,” “A League of Their Own” or “Bull Durham.”

 “You’re killing me Smalls!” – “The Sandlot”

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