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'Cinderella Man' (2005)
Soon after the Oscars finally showered overdue love on director Ron Howard with "A Beautiful Mind" (four wins, including best picture and director of 2001), he returned with what looked like an obvious academy heavyweight. " Cinderella Man" teamed Howard up again with "Beautiful Mind" star Russell Crowe (best actor, "Gladiator") now as the washed-up boxer Jim Braddock who fights his way back to fame and riches during the Great Depression.
"Cinderella Man" got good reviews, but it suffered a knock-out punch at the box office. People just didn't want to see Russell Crowe movies anymore, not so soon after he hurled a phone at a Manhattan hotel clerk. The film wound up with only three Oscar bids: makeup, editing and supporting actor Paul Giamatti. --T.O.