Brad Pitt on his potential Oscar campaign: ‘Oh, man. I’m gonna abstain’

Brad Pitt at the Ad Astra press conference in Tokyo, Japan

I sort of forgot to cover Brad Pitt’s appearance on The Ellen Show last Friday. My bad. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t even get through those videos – Ellen mostly just tossed softball questions at Brad, and Brad was performatively charming. You can see one video here and follow the YouTube thread. It’s interesting because… for the past four years or so, Brad has barely done proper talk show interviews. Yes, he does “appearances” on talk shows, but he never sits down for a real chat. He did with Ellen, and Ellen dutifully kept everything as superficial as possible. It’s just another reminder that Brad is pulling out all the stops for his Oscar hustle this year, for Ad Astra and Once Upon a Time.

So, he’s done interviews with Ellen, the New York Times and a cover story with GQ, all of them “in depth,” yet the New York Times was basically the only outlet to ask him somewhat directly about his drinking problem. But! He also appeared on The Project recently and he was asked somewhat directly about drinking and “demons.” Brad said: “I think we all carry deep pains to different degrees and regrets, and we’re very good, certainly in my culture, at burying those….It leads to a more well-rounded, certainly more comfortable existence within yourself, and greater peace of mind. And I find that you can enjoy the good stuff more.” I get that his journey to sobriety is his own and he’s not obligated to talk about specifics, and he’s not even obligated to talk about non-specific things. But just on a personal level, given all the sh-t that’s happened, I’m a little bit surprised that it’s still so f–king hard for him to say “I have deep regrets and shame about my own behavior, about my own disease.” THAT would be a statement about masculinity and pain and fatherhood, all of which are supposedly the themes of Ad Astra.

And finally, Brad has a new interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote Ad Astra. Some highlights:

What Ad Astra is about. “Toxic masculinity, that may be a little harsh as a term? But certainly we’re questioning what is masculinity. Having grown up in an era where we are taught to be stoic, taught to be capable, not to show weakness, never be disrespected — that works for the pioneer spirit, I guess, on the plain when you’re trying to make your claim. But it’s also very limiting, because it doesn’t embrace the whole human being.”

How his company Plan B has made so many woke AF films: “It’s certainly not by design,” he says of the company’s particular track record with black auteurs like Ava DuVernay and Steve McQueen. “Myself and my partners Jeremy [Kleiner] and Dede [Gardner] have an extreme belief in equality and this want for justice in an unjust world, and I think we naturally are kind of guided that way. We were trying to get Selma made for years, and it wasn’t until 12 Years did what it did that it suddenly opened the door for all of these others. Certainly when we started, it was at a time when we saw that the studios just weren’t taking that kind of gamble on more complex mid-range budgeted films. [And] I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to contribute to the zeitgeist…. But you know for every one that gets made, there’s another 10, so it takes a fight for all of them. And I can’t tell you how many talented, talented people there are still struggling to to be able to tell their story, the one that moved them. That’s where we were able to apply our muscle in a way that I never even expected when we started.”

On the Oscar buzz for Ad Astra & OUATIH: “Oh, man. I’m gonna abstain,” he says of campaigning for either role (though his generous recent press schedule may belie that). “I mean, you never know, and it’s really nice when your number comes up. But the goal is for the film to land, to speak to someone whether it’s now or a decade from now. I find chasing it actually a disservice to the purity of your telling a story, and a shackling thing to focus on.”

Whether he could end up on prestige TV: “Could I see it? Absolutely. What I love about TV is that you get to spend more time with the characters. You have to let go of so many scenes in order to fit into the ‘film’ container, as far as running time and how it plays, and with a series, being able to break it up, you can expand so much more. I’m especially drawn to the comedies that are able to do that. That might just be romantic of me, I may have to go with the times, so we’ll see. We’ll see where it all lands, but that’s certainly of interest.”

[From EW]

I love that EW isn’t buying Brad’s “Who me? Oscar? Nah!” bulls–t. I mean, as I laid out in this post… Brad’s media schedule these days is intense, especially for someone who has barely been giving one interview per project for the past four years. Brad is oversaturating the market in that particular way Oscar hopefuls do every year. The one thing I’ll say is that… it’s early in the season. Maybe Brad told his publicist that he didn’t want to really do the Oscar campaign rigmarole when everyone else does it, so his publicist just went overboard with Ad Astra promotional schedule.

My favorite part of the EW interview is Brad talking about producing all of those woke AF Oscar-bait movies. I mean, it IS important and he does deserve credit for being a producer who takes chances on those films and those directors and those stories. Of course, it’s also a subtle way to remind Academy voters that Brad has been making great films as a producer for years now.

Brad Pitt at the Ad Astra press conference in Tokyo, Japan

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Brad Pitt on his potential Oscar campaign: ‘Oh, man. I’m gonna abstain’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lightpurple says:

    He does deserve a nomination for Once Upon a Time.

    • Jerusha says:

      Yes, he does. He was excellent. He’s been very, very good in many films.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Yes, he has. It’s just that no one is buying his whole “I don’t care about that” schtick atm. Because it’s clear from the number of interviews and PR he is doing that he does.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        @Valiantly Varnished
        There is a difference between promoting your films (especially as OUATIH and Ad Astra are original films, not tentpoles or franchises) and campaigning for an Oscar e.g. going to all of those Oscar luncheons, sending gifts to voters, hiring an awards fixer like Lisa Tabeck. If he does that, then he’s campaigning and you can call him a hypocrite all you want. Otherwise, right now what he’s doing is his job and promoting a hard sell film…

        …which I find it strange that we want celebs to not be outwardly ambitious or ignore the fact that they have Oscar buzz. It’s like with Alicia Vikander, when she was trashed for saying she hoped to be at the Oscars next year with one or two of the films she was doing (and low and behold she was!)…. Brad has been getting Oscar buzz period since OUATIH came out and I’m sure he’s been asked about it.

        And given that his (and Angelina’s) policy is to never go to awards shows unless they are personally nominated, I buy that neither (or just Brad in this specific case) care too much about personal awards.

        The last time I can remember Brad doing “in your face” campaigning was for Benjamin Button.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Virgilia Who is you?? Where did I call him a hypocrite?? Your entire response is a LOT of assumptions based on my 3 sentence comment. I have no issue with open campaigning. I like it a lot better than fake humility or pretending not to care when it’s obvious you do. I am a big fan of authenticity. I was one of the people defending Anne Hathaway when everyone was trashing her during Oscar season. So again – be careful with your assumptions about how someone does or doesn’t feel on a subject.

      • windyriver says:

        Did people see his conversation with NASA astronaut Nick Hague on the ISS yesterday? Part of the AdAstra promotion.

  2. Valiantly Varnished says:

    “I find chasing it actually a disservice to the purity of your telling a story”. Sure, Jan.

    • smcollins says:

      Eh. I think I understand what he means, in that by pursuing personal/individual recognition and accolades it takes away from the film/story as a whole. Or something to that effect.

  3. Becks1 says:

    I think he will get nominated for Once upon a time. Will he win? I have no clue, maybe. I don’t blame him for the current promotional campaign, it could conceivably be “just” to promote Ad Astra, but if this continues through the new year I’ll blame him lol (a la Gaga and Cooper from last year.)

  4. Tiffany says:

    On the production side, his company handles business and is putting out great work and making sure that work is being seen and I ain’t even mad at it because, you know, non white people are behind those films and they are really good.

    Now, if he wanted to fade into producer glory and not act, I ain’t mad at that either.

  5. Snowslow says:

    The reviews for Ad Astra are very enthusiastic. While he seems to be a very lost soul, he sure is a good actor. I personally hate his enunciation but that’s me. And I recognise that he was wise in his career choices and is a good performer.

  6. minx says:

    For the sake of his kids, and him, I hope he’s working on sobriety.

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Why would you not think he is? Considering the last time they went to court over child custody and their private judge stated there was zero reason he shouldn’t have 50-50 custody, I am surprised that this is even a thing. I could see questioning it if he’d spent the last 3 years having wine or beer delivered in his driveway a la Ben Affleck…..otherwise it looks like to me, he’s spent the last 3 years in therapy and AA.

      • minx says:

        Did I say he wasn’t? Working on sobriety takes constant vigilance.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        Sorry, must have misread your tone (as in it felt like it was more of a question mark for you, vs. something he was and is actively working on). I find a lot of comments on here regarding his sobriety a bit strange…I’ve followed the divorce and both Brad and Angelina pretty closely since everything happened.

        Brad submitted to and passed voluntary drug tests long past the CPS investigation and the issue of his sobriety, per se, has never been brought up as an issue regarding their custody case–beyond the CPS and FBI investigation. Beyond that, it’s pretty clear to me (particularly since he dropped a ton of weight directly after the investigations were over) that he took it seriously from the very beginning. Especially since he took the time to cultivate other interests e.g. sculpting, music, to get into while he wasn’t working or with their kids. Just my two cents.

        I don’t regard him not responding to tabloid stories as him being behind tabloid stories, especially since the only public statements he’s ever made about their divorce was a) responding to Angelina’s filing (something about how he was disappointed or sad about it but understood) and b) the joint statement that was put out in early 2017 by both.

      • minx says:

        VC, No problem—I have nothing but respect for anyone who is trying to stay sober.

  7. Pixie says:

    Meh, I don’t think he owes anyone a public ‘I have shame and regret about my actions/illness’ statement. Pop culture is a weird beast, and privacy may be dead but I think the public is FAR too demanding in the expectations we have of people in the public eye. Why should he feel shame for his addiction, and why must it be public?

    • Jadedone says:

      I agree, he may owe some apologies to those in his life who were directly impacted by his addictions he certainly doesnt owe the public an apology.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree, no one except those personally affected deserve anything.

      I kind of wish he’d stop talking about it, as it’s mostly just platitudes, but he’s always wanted to seem deep and intellectual, so I’m guessing he’s going to continue.

      • Kebbie says:

        Yeah, I’d rather he not saying anything than the generic nonsense he’s been saying. But it could be his way of getting around the question without shutting it down outright and looking like he’s avoiding it.

    • M says:

      He just passes the blame onto Angelina & gaslighted her for three years & still continues to do so.
      He can talk toxic masculinity all he wants but his actions show he is very much part of the problem.
      His answers are the same for every interview “loneliness, grief, loss regret” & yet still refuses to own up about his own actions other than vague refrences to drinking too much.
      He is very much cancelled for me & yet i used to love him with Angelina, now i hope she finds someone who is good enough for her & the children.

      • Pixie says:

        That’s fair enough @M, you are well within your rights to dislike him based on his public image. I just don’t see the need for a public apology or admission of shame, it feels exploitative and unsympathetic to someone suffering with an illness. Still, we are just consumers of what he is selling, and we are all free to stop buying at any time. I have always been more of an Angelina fan than a Brad one myself, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • Meg says:

      Well he wants to benefit from the family man image then not have to talk about his drinking damaging his kids and blowing that image to pieces. From my view he can’t have it both ways. Would a woman be embraced by the academy after acting the way he has?

      • Pixie says:

        @ Meg, He has spoken about his drinking and alcoholism. He just hasn’t publicly apologised and I don’t think he needs to. What would you like him to do? And I don’t think a woman or a person of colour would be embraced if they behaved the same way, but that says more about how sexist/racist the academy is than it says about Brad.

  8. TeddyPicker says:

    I don’t understand why both he and Angelina post-divorce have leaned back into acting roles so heavily. Ange was killing it with directing, producing, teaching, the UN stuff and I honestly thought she would never appear in a feature film again. And Brad could concoct a much better legacy for himself if he kept pursuing the woke producing. But yeah, now it’s a Marvel franchise and toxic bros in space – I guess it goes to show there were parts of their partnership that worked really well.

    • tealily says:

      I’m sure it’s more money.

    • Sierra says:

      In Angelina’s case, I think she has to earn money again so she is with Disney.

      She is also acting in passion projects and also producing stories like Jim Thorpe one.

      I would love it if she directed another movie soon.

    • JulieCarr says:

      Money. They were living pretty lavishly when they were together, and they took on debts and made lifestyle choices that they could just about cover together, but definitely can’t cover solo without some big acting paychecks coming in. That’s why the financial part of their divorce took years to sort out.

      Brad’s still producing films like If Beale St Could Talk and The Last Black Man In San Francisco.

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:


      Brad hasn’t had a film come out in two years e.g. his last film was the netflix film, War Machine (in 2017, but it was filmed before that).

      Angelina has upped her work schedule, but she donated a lot to charity and had been focused on directing before, so that is understandable.

    • SaraR. says:

      Angelina said this in Hello interview (Guerlain promotion):

      “I’m acting a bit more now because I can’t be what my family needs me to be while I’m directing — it takes a lot more time and effort to direct and I look forward to being able to do that again when things are better.”

      Also, @JulieCarr, I don’t know where did you see that they took debts? Never seen anything about that.
      And Brad just submitted his financial papers this April (Angelina did that last October) so it didn’t “took years” to nagotiate their finances in divorce. The divorce is taking a long time because they are working towards 50:50 custody.

    • lucy2 says:

      Her last directing gig was not well received at all, so she may have taken a step back on that for many reasons, the time commitment also being one of them.

      I would think money is a motivator too, for both, plus they both probably enjoy acting.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        She got the best reviews of her directing career with FTKMF????

        Rotten Tomatoes gave her an 88%

        Metacritic gave her a 72% based on 22 reviews.

        I think she went back to acting for the money–directing doesn’t pay that well for her (yet) and she donated a lot of money or did campaigns solely for charity, so that hadn’t left her with a lot of time for acting, as she spent a huge chunk of time directing too.

      • lucy2 says:

        You’re right – I forgot about that one, I was looking at box office releases and thinking of the one she did with Brad.

    • Kebbie says:

      Angelina is a better actor than director, I think it’s good she’s getting back into acting. As for why she chose to, she’s now responsible for 50% of the cost of nannies, a security team, tutors/teachers, lawyer fees, and on and on. Directing gigs aren’t going to support their lifestyle.

  9. The Recluse says:

    Actually I can see why he is everywhere promoting his latest film. It is not a franchise film, so no built in audience. They have to work harder to raise interest.
    If it gets good reviews I will likely see it because I have CABIN FEVER and I need a break from the discouraging news.
    Thank goodness for the Country Music series on PBS. It has been a lovely diversion.

  10. JanetFerber says:

    Like hell he is. He wants that Oscar.

  11. Carmen says:

    I never imagined the day would come when I would be sick and tired of Brad Pitt, but it has, and I am.

  12. Case says:

    I think Brad is an incredibly good actor. I didn’t really watch many of his films for a long time and kinda assumed he was just a pretty boy, but he’s very talented. I’m excited for Ad Astra.

  13. Hmmm says:

    Well, let’s hope an oscars can replace the love of his kids. He chose to make the ad asstra when the kids were in need the most. Sad really.

    The kids are lucky to have their mother.

  14. wisdomheaven says:

    I know this is unpopular here, but I like Brad and have enjoyed most of his films and his roles. I think he is a very strong actor. I thought his answers were fine. I don’t need to see an actor spill every bit of their struggle especially since it can sometimes feel like a performance in and of itself.

  15. sammiches says:

    To be fair, Ellen isn’t really known for her deep, thoughtful interview questions, so I wouldn’t expect much more out of an appearance on her show than what he gave.