As "Moneyball" opens nationally in theaters, it looks like it's going to hit it out of the park. It's already a big hit with film critics, scoring 87 at Metacritic. BoxOfficeGuru projects that "Moneyball" will bring in an impressive $16 million in ticket sales this weekend. But how will it play at the Oscars?
"Moneyball's" creators have serious Oscar pedigree: director Bennett Miller ("Capote"), writers Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List") and Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") and star Brad Pitt ("Babel," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").
However, Pitt has a problem. He has another strong role in the Oscar derby this year: "Tree of Life." Rumor has it that he'll campaign in lead for "Moneyball" and in supporting for "Tree of Life," but some academy members may believe that his performance in "Tree" is really a lead too and that it has more gravitas. His two bids could cancel each other out.
Baseball movies don't traditionally do well at the Oscars. Yes, "Pride of the Yankees" (1947) was nominated for 10, but it won only for film editing. "Field of Dreams" (1989) was nominated for best picture too, but it lost. "Bull Durham" (1988) and "The Natural" (1984) struck out in the top contest completely, despite widespread belief that they might get nominated.
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Brad Pitt in "Moneyball." Credit: Columbia Pictures