Jonah Hill was great in the Brad Pitt baseball biopic MoneyBall. And this morning the Academy recognized that, with an Oscar nomination for the 28 year old actor. This is great news. Jonah’s chances for actually winning the Oscar may be slim, but this basically guarantees that he will get more serious dramatic roles. Which will be good for everyone.
This year Christopher Plummer is expected to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Ewan McGregor‘s gay father in the movie Beginners. But even just recognizing Jonah’s performance in Moneyball will be great for his career.
Jonah is known for being a super funny comedic actor, and he’ll most likely continue to helm Judd Apatow comedies and strange remakes like the upcoming 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum. But his performance in Moneyball was subtle, empathetic and nuanced. (I personally thought he was better than Brad Pitt, but I know I’m in a small minority on that one.)
Everyone who loves movies will benefit from seeing him straddle the line between drama and comedy more often. There are a lot of young dudes in Hollywood who have comedic skills. Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg are all very funny, but they struggle with seamlessly transitioning to dramatic roles.
Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Schwartzman, and Michael Cera have all starred in comedies with those guys, but they are actors who are able to hold their own in comedies. Jonah is one of the few comedians in that age bracket who has started to prove that he has serious acting skills.
Very few comedic actors can handle that switch. But when they do they often go on to become massive stars (and make bank for movie studios). Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Ben Stiller and Will Smith are just a few guys who started off doing light comedies and ended up becoming bankable movie stars. I don’t think it would be a stretch for Jonah Hill to be on that path in a few years if he makes the right choices.
Even if that means the next poster for Jonah’s remake of 21 Jump Street is going to have “Starring Oscar nominee Jonah Hill” printed across it.