Career Peak – The point in an actor, actress or director’s career when they have given their best performance, reaching a point they will probably never match again!
The idea is to examine a person’s film or television career and decide when their career peak was; the moment that they gave their best performance or produced their best work. This could be with their first movie; it could also be yet to come.
Brad Pitt has had a career most actors would die for. They are not all necessarily incredible movies and he has certainly had his fair share of stinkers, but alongside those movies which don’t quite capture the imagination, there have been some performances which have shown his true acting talent, and they started from the very beginning of his career. Pitt is a mega-star actor who has never won an Oscar though and this could be for one very clear reason.
Brad Pitt: Career Peak – Hasn’t happened yet!
Brad Pitt was never an actor who slummed it for roles or played roles he couldn’t be proud of. He has roles on his CV which he probably regrets but he puts in fantastic performances everytime and often steals the movie from the lead. The perfect example was an early role in his career, Thelma and Louise. He didn’t quite steal the movie but considering his screen-time is less than thirty minutes of the film, he is definitely one of the more memorable and impactful characters – which is impressive for his first, biggest film role.
Like many actors he slummed it slightly, even doing an episode of Tales from the Crypt and a Who Framed Roger Rabbit rip-off called Cool World but it would be with True Romance in 1993 that Pitt would stand-out among his equals. He is on-screen for less than five minutes but is so memorable as Floyd that many people can quote his entire contribution to the movie.
From here we enter the first phase of Brad Pitt, boyish charmer. With the long floppy hair and boyish good looks, Pitt would go on to play young, handsome but eclectic roles. He would support Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire, investigate gruesome murders in David Fincher’s Seven and go full crazy in Twelve Monkeys. In fact, it would be Twelve Monkeys that would get him his first Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
The second phase of Pitt is just around the corner. With Twelve Monkeys we got “crazy” Pitt. This was the Brad Pitt who would go full-scale strange for the roles he played. Not necessarily mentally ill but definitely slightly unhinged, including The Devil’s Own, Fight Club and Snatch. The last two, alongside Seven, would be the roles that would catapult Pitt to super-stardom but regardless of his great performances, they were still far from his career peak. Pitt still hadn’t given the best of his acting performances.
The third phase of Pitt was Hollywood Brad. Here he would cash-in on his fame and make movies such as Troy, Mr and Mrs Smith and the Ocean’s franchise. None of these held quality Pitt performances but you can see the actor having fun and often that makes for better movies anyway.
It would be in 2007 that Pitt would start to enter his fourth and current phase – the veteran Pitt. This is a Brad Pitt with some age, some classic movies under his belt and a air of authority. No better role than the titular outlaw in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford would do. Pitt is terrifying, engrossing and owns the whole movie in a cast which included Casey Affleck, Jeremy Renner and Sam Shepard. This pick of heavyweight roles would continue in melodrama, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
From here Pitt chose his roles carefully. They aren’t all great choices but for every World War Z or Killing Them Softly, Pitt would make Inglorious Basterds or The Big Short. It means Pitt is entering an interesting point in his career but hasn’t quite delivered the performance that defines him.
It is interesting that nobody is wondering where Pitt’s Oscar win is, compared to Leonardo DiCaprio. The big difference is DiCaprio feels like he deserved the win at least twice before his eventual win for The Revenant. Pitt doesn’t have that role. That is because it is still to come and his career hasn’t peaked quite yet.
Overall, Brad Pitt still has his best role in front of him. He has played young and boyish, crazed and wild, Hollywood super-star and now enters the interesting mature phase of his career. It is here Pitt will deliver the performances that truly defines him and puts him alongside the legends of cinema.