Battle of The Sexes (Fox Searchlight, 9.22) will obviously be a hit. With Emma Stone having won a Best Actress Oscar for her La La Land performance three months ago, Steve Carell, who is totally on fire as Bobby Riggs, is going to get most of the award-season action. Cheers to co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (who delivered Little Miss Sunshine) for lucking into good material plus the right people to work with. The story boils down to (a) obnoxious if indefatigable asshole gets his comeuppance and (b) a gay, closeted tennis player has to cope with a huge professional challenge while sorting out emotional matters with her lover (Andrea Riseborough) and male husband (Austin Stowell). Costarring Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming and Elisabeth Shue.
Remember: The 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” was actually three tennis matches between a man and a woman. The first was between Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court, over the best of three sets. (Riggs won.) The second was a nationally televised match between Riggs and Billie Jean King, over the best of five sets. (BJK won.) The final match was between Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova, over the best of three sets and hybrid rules favoring the female player.