Brad Pitt has said he is surprised at his Oscar win for Best Film for the movie 12 Years a Slave. The Star said he did not know where he would put the award having not thought about it before the ceremony. Pitt should not have to think too hard where to put the Oscar, though. One good place could be next to his partner Angelina Jolie’s. It will be the third one in the Pitt-Jolie household after Jolie’s win in 2ooo for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Girl Interrupted and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award she won this year.
Brad Pitt, one of Hollywood’s most famous and prolific actors whose 41 feature films have grossed over $6.5 billion, was perhaps surprised at the Oscar win after having been overlooked three times before in acting categories. Pitt was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1996 for Twelve Monkeys, a dynamic turn that won him critical acclaim and proved he was more than the pretty boy who stole the show in Thelma and Louise. But it took 13 years for Brad Pitt to be taken seriously as a leading actor. In 2009, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for playing the title character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Three years later he was up for honors again for his leading performance in Moneyball, a film for which he also received a Best Motion Picture nomination.
Brad Pitt’s surprise at the Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave might come as a surprise to onlookers. 12 Years a Slave was whispered to be an Oscar front-runner even before its release. Its director, Steve McQueen, was certainly a crucial factor behind those rumors. The one time winner of The Turner Prize had previously helmed two critical successes in Hunger and Shame, and his edgy and brave film-making was expected to breath new life into one of the most heartbreaking periods of American history. The director delivered, the film receiving that elusive mix of critical acclaim and box office success.
The film also did not have any other nominees with heavyweight subject matters to contend with. 12 Years a Slave is as perfect an Oscar contender as Best Films get. The Oscars have a history of awarding the Best Film Oscar to historical epics with sensitive subjects, Gone with the Wind, Dances with Wolves, and Schindler’s List some of the more famous examples. Its nearest rivals American Hustle and Gravity were both award worthy in their own rights but lacked the gravitas of Pitt’s production, one the other producers said could not have been made without his involvement.
The question now is will Brad Pitt fans ever get to see the surprise on his face for a best actor win? An actual win may need a Pitt performance with as heavyweight a punch as 12 Years a Slave delivered as a film. The star now sits alongside Glen Close with 6 nominations and no wins, Amy Adams with five , and Leonardo DiCaprio with three, as actors whose talents may be worth box office gold, but not Oscar.
Commentary by Christian Deverille