Technically, Brad Pitt is an Oscar winner — though, his statue is not for FIGHT CLUB, SEVEN, the OCEAN’S films or even MONEYBALL. Instead, Pitt holds a producer’s Oscar for supporting Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE, which took home the Best Picture trophy in 2014.
So yes, Pitt by definition is an Oscar contender. But there remains a vocal contingent that wants to see Pitt recognized by the Academy for his acting abilities. And this might be his year.
Brad Pitt has been nominated for his performances in the past. His stellar turns in 12 MONKEYS, MONEYBALL and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON earned him Oscar noms in the acting categories. Many pundits believe the recognition will happen again this year with Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD… even though the category is stacked.
Pitt, in the movie, plays a former stuntman named Cliff Booth who now passes the time as the right-hand man for fading star Rick Dalton. And it is a true "supporting” performance. While ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio and his character’s struggle to maintain a foothold in the film industry, the movie is built on the foundation of the friendship between the two men, and Pitt holds focus anytime the film meanders with him (as it often does).
If anything is standing in Pitt’s way this Oscar season, it’s the men he’ll compete against, should he receive the nomination, who are all titans in their field. Anthony Hopkins is receiving praise for his contributions to THE TWO POPES. Matt Damon is incredible in FORD V FERRARI. Wesley Snipes apparently steals DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, while Tom Hanks summons tears by playing Fred Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
So, Pitt could be the next A-lister to throw his hat into the ring for Best Supporting Actor, and he earns it. His portrayal of Cliff Booth is comfortable and lived in, but confident and tense when it needs to be. His interactions in the final act of the film are hilarious and scary, and ONCE goes down as one of Pitt’s most memorable movies — and that’s saying a lot.
You can still see Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD in select AMC theatres, so check your local listings and grab a ticket.