In 2001, Russell Crowe and Ron Howard teamed up to make A Beautiful Mind, an inspiring true story that garnered an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to a Crowe nomination. Four years later, they re-teamed for Cinderella Man, another inspiring true story. But this time, the Oscar love was scant, earning only three nominations, and none for Crowe. You know who did get nominated? Crowe's co-star, Paul Giamatti.
Russell Crowe made a surprising promise to Paul Giamatti's dying mother. The actor, 56, told GQ in a career retrospective video that he had sworn Giamatti's mother, Toni Marilyn Giamatti, her son would receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal in their 2005 film Cinderella Man.
Crowe explained that when he'd starred in the 1999 film The Insider with Al Pacino, the iconic actor had told the studio to `back the kid` in the Oscars race. The Gladiator star decided he would pay it forward for Giamatti, 53. `Paul Giamatti's mom died during the course of shooting Cinderella Man and I made her a promise on the phone that Paul was such an incredible actor, that he would be nominated,` Crowe said.
He continued, `And the studio asked me what I wanted to do, and I said, 'Back the kid.' And Paul Giamatti got an Academy Award nomination.` A rep for Giamatti did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Cinderella Man follows the real story of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock who decides to go back into the sport during the Great Depression in order to support his family.
Giamatti portrayed Braddock's longtime manager and friend, Joe Gould. The actor was given the only acting Oscar nomination of the cast for Best Supporting Actor.