He may have limped to the stage with a cane on Saturday night, but Brad Pitt is standing atop the pile so far this award season.
Pitt, who hurt his ACL while carrying his daughter Vivienne down a ski slope, accepted the Desert Palm Achievement Award at the Palm Springs Film Fest on Saturday, taking the honor for his work in "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life." Earlier in the day, he was named Best Actor by the National Film Critics Association, making it a double gold day for the 47-year old superstar.
The awards are just the latest in his slew of victories this year. Alternating between honors for his work in Terrence Malick's experimental "Tree of Life" and his own passion project, the small market baseball film "Moneyball," Pitt has been nominated by nearly every festival festival jury and critics society in the lead up to the Golden Globes and Oscars.
He took home Best Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle for both parts and earned the nod from the Boston Film Critics for "Moneyball." He's also received nominations for Best Actor for "Moneyball" from the Golden Globes, SAG, the Satellite Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. For "Tree of Life," he's earned Best Supporting Actor noms from the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and the Online Film Critics Society Awards.
In Palm Springs on Saturday, Pitt charmed the audience of his peers and cracked jokes like a man both at ease and very grateful for his big year.
"Like so many of you here, I have not seen 'Tree of Life' yet but I hear we are really good," he joked. "But this is especially sweet beacaue both of these films were arduous labors of love and if it wasn't for the dedication of a few brave souls, they could have easily fallen into that black hole of great projects that never worked."
He gave nods to "[Producer] Amy Pascal, Sean Penn, Seymour Hoffman and my lover Jonah Hill, and Jessica Chastain, whom you have honored here tonight. Seven films this year and five next year. Usually an actress has to work in the porn industry to have that kind of success. It's impressive."
So, what does this mean for the rest of award season? Certainly, the Palm Springs Award was less of a competition than a nice honor, but the Film Critics Association was certainly hard-won. Next Sunday, Pitt will go up against his friend George Clooney, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, and though "Moneyball" wasn't a breakaway hit, neither were "The Descendants," "Shame," "The Ides of March" or "J. Edgar." Will the very Euro-centric HFPA be charmed by globe trotting Brad, and want to give him his first Globe since his win for "12 Monkeys" 16 years ago? And if so, will that put him in the driver's seat for his first Oscar?
Hard to tell quite yet. But for now, Pitt, limp or not, is certainly leading the pack.