Heart Like a Wheel (1983): Bonnie Bedelia as Shirley Muldowney

In 1983, Heart Like a Wheel further expanded the range of roles allotted to women, chronicling the career of Shirley Muldowney (Bonnie Badelia), the only race driver, male or female, to have won the National Hot Rod Association World Championship for three times. This film challenges male-dominated society and its ingrained
sexism.

A working-class woman, Muldowney competes in one of the most male dominated establishments, the world of drag racing. The narrative traces 25 years of her life, from her adoration of her country singer-father through an ill-fated marriage to an unambitious auto mechanic. It documents her battles for the drag-racing crown with bureaucratic officials and biased news media
(all Big City ills).

Like the heroines of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Norma Rae, Muldowney offers a new definition of motherhood, through the unorthodox education she gives her son, who later joins her crew.

Oscar Nominatins: 1

Costume Design: William Ware Theiss

Oscar Context:

The winner was Marik Voss for Fanny and Alexander.