‘Moneyball:’ The First Oscar Contender This Year

I saw “Moneyball” last night, and it knocked my socks off. The script was incredibly tight, the drama potent and the humor palpable. It could be my favorite movie so far this year alongside Brad Pitt‘s other movie “Tree of Life.”

Now I don’t care what other people are saying about the Oscars this year, but “Moneyball” is the first movie I’ve seen that has major possibilities for the award season. Some are saying “Midnight in Paris” is a contender, but I hated that one. “Moneyball” has all the star power with Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman all taking all major roles. It’s not a grand story though; it’s more about the machinations behind baseball and the importance of pushing an idea through to change the system.

The film also has an interesting story behind it in that it almost didn’t get made. In theory, it’s difficult to see why no studio would want to make this since it had Pitt behind it the entire time, and sports movies pretty much always do well at the box office. But once you see what Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin came up with for a script, you begin to see that there’s really not that much baseball in the movie. It takes place in the offices and the locker rooms, rather than the field.

The real winner is Pitt, as pretty much every critic says. This is an amazing role for him, and he plays it up, while at the same time retaining that normal guy persona we all love. It’s still early, but I think that he’s a shoe-in for an Oscar (even because they want Brad and Angelina Jolie walking the red carpet together) and could possibly even win this year. We’ll have to see what else is out there, but I think he could come from behind — George Clooney is the front-runner right now for “The Descendants” — to take the gold.

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