How Brad Pitt 2.0 Set Him Up For Oscars 2020 Glory

Olivia Ovenden
Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

From Esquire

Brad Pitt's 2020 awards season run was a Hollywood fable in itself. There was redemption in his return having battled alcoholism and a second broken marriage. There were the hilarious and self-deprecating speeches, one where he joked about Tarantino's foot fetish in front of a stony-faced Tarantino, another where he said he would be adding the trophy his Tinder profile.

And then there was that photo with Jennifer Aniston; Pitt's palm wrapped around her wrist and pulling her back toward him, which may well have caused a global surge in texts to ex-partners which began, "I've been thinking..."

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On Sunday evening, Pitt's story got its fairytale ending as he emerged the triumphant claimant of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, completing the 56-year-old's clean sweep this award season. It was a slightly gobsmacked Brad Pitt that ascended to the stage to claim his first Academy Award, mouthing 'wow' in response to the applause, before making a crack that he only had 45 seconds on stage.

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After thanking director Tarantino by saying, "You are original, you are one of a kind", Pitt shouted out co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, saying, "Leo, I'll ride on your coattails any day man, the view is fantastic."

After a few years out of the conversation working quietly behind the camera, the actor has came back into focus with roles in Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and James Gray's Ad Astra. There was an easy breeziness about the Pitt 2.0 who suddenly started gracing red carpets again, experimenting beyond the basic black tie formula and cracking jokes at his own expense.

Pitt had originally claimed he would abstain from campaigning this award season, saying he wanted to let the work speak for itself, though added teasingly, "I mean, you never know, and it’s really nice when your number comes up." It turns out 2020 was when his number did come up, and the world has eagerly welcomed Pitt back into the fold.

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Last month, when accepting his Screen Actor's Guild award, he joked: "A guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn't get on with his wife. It's a big stretch, it's big."

Pitt does some brilliant acting in as Cliff Booth, the washed-up stunt double in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but his best bit of trickery has been convincing audiences that he barely had to act in order to play the wise-cracking, chiselled, laid-back lothario we see on screen. Letting us believe that the fantasy of Brad Pitt is lived out in this story of a has-been Hollywood player who just wanted to smoke an acid-dipped cigarette and cruise down Sunset Boulevard.

Comedic performances usually lose out at the Oscars to dramatic and more actor-y ones, but this year there was no resisting Pitt's months long run as Cliff Booth on every red carpet around. It's a win thoroughly deserved and a genuine transformation, even if the king of cool would have you believe otherwise.

Looking out at the audience Pitt applauding him Pitt referenced his own journey saying, "I'm a bit gobsmacked... Once upon a time in Hollywood, ain't that the truth."

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