This is probably unsurprising to anyone who knows anything about me, but “Moneyball” is one of my favorite movies of all time. When people ask what the best sports movie is, I almost view it as unfair to say “Moneyball.” It rises head and shoulders above every other sports movie. I think it’s essentially perfect and at the forefront of it is Brad Pitt, one of the defining movie stars of the last 30 years, giving what the performance of his career is. How did he not win an Oscar for it?
I really, really enjoyed the film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” I thought it was excellent. It’s not my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie, but it’s pretty damn good. At the same time, I never really understood why Brad Pitt won an Oscar for it. That’s not to say he was bad. He was awesome in it and the idea of anyone else playing that role is a foreign concept, but I never really saw him stretch much as an actor in that movie. Him winning an Oscar for that felt like one of those “Hey, this guy’s been around for a minute; let’s give them an Oscar” roles. We see that a lot with the Academy Awards. “Moneyball” is the movie he should’ve won for.
Now, of course, you have to look at the bigger picture and acknowledge who won the Oscar in 2011, and that was Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” I only saw “The Artist” once, and it was my sophomore year of high school, but I really did enjoy it. I think it’s an excellent movie, and Jean Dujardin gave an outstanding performance, but does anyone still really talk about “The Artist?” It’s one of those Best Picture winners that hasn’t aged particularly well. It’s not to say that it’s a bad film, I think it’s a wonderful film, but it was a flavor of the month thing. People were so enamored by the idea that a silent film could exist in 2011 that they just threw 1 million Oscars at it. It was wonderful, but it’s not relevant. “Moneyball” is relevant, and Brad Pitt’s performance in that movie is very relevant.
What makes Pitts's performance in “Moneyball” so brilliant is that it kind of goes against type for him. Don’t get me wrong, he still has the typical Brad Pitt charisma, but he’s not Tyler Durden in this movie. He is a dad, and one of my favorite things about “Moneyball” is that, at its core, it’s a story about a man trying to connect with his daughter and coming to terms with where he’s at the life. The final scene is one of the best endings of all time. Every time I watch it, I get misty eyed. And it’s the single best moment of Brad Pitt’s acting career.
That final scene is so perfect. Even beyond just his performance as an actor, it’s such a beautiful reflection of what we love about sports. We get so caught up in the idea that the only thing that matters is being a champion, but at the same time, you have, as the movie says, just enjoy the show. His performance is a perfect reflection of that moniker.
Watch “Moneyball.” I’m sure many of you have. It’s not some low-budget indie movie that nobody saw, but it deserves more respect, and I also think that it is the crowning achievement for an actor who has been one of the most sought-after performers of his generation. It’s the quintessential performance of a great, great career.