Jonah Hill held his own in a Today interview with Moneyball co-star Brad Pitt and host Ann Curry, despite what appeared to be a bit of a condescending tone on the part of the NBC anchor and his more seasoned co-star.
How is it up there on cloud nine? Curry asked, appearing to be addressing Hill.
Any moment sitting next to Jonah is cloud nine, which you will quickly pick up on, Pitt volunteered.
We talked to you right after the nomination, Pitt said to Brad, and one of the first things you said was how happy you were for Jonah.
Hill is finally permitted to speak when Curry asks him: How did you find out about it, Jonah?
I was watching T.V., and it said it on T.V. , and I freaked out and started running around.
Then hill did the requisite Brad Pitt a** kissing -- we wouldn't be anywhere close to here today with his work blah blah blah -- and added that the nomination means more to my family and my parents than it will ever mean to me.
You're an Oscar nominated actor, and for a very serious role, Curry helpfully reminded him.
The subject was then changed to Pitt's tenacious shepherding of the film through numerous executive and talent shake-ups.
Why couldn't you let this one go? Curry asked Pitt.
These guys were fighting...just for a fair game, Pitt said of the real-life Oakland A's manager Billy Beane and his team.
There's a kind of underdog nature to the story, Curry astutely offered.
It's more of a character, and characters, who are trying to find their own value in a system that is certainly not propping them up in that way.
Ann then addressed Jonah:
So much of this movie is not predictable...but you're not predictable in this movie for anybody who's seen you in any other movie you've done.
Where did you find the honesty of your portrayal?
I love all of the comedies I've been a part of, Hill said. And to me, I'm just an actor, I was never a comedian or anything like that. To me it's about trying to play all different kinds of parts.
Honestly the chance to do something different was really exciting and enticing to me, he added. I just wanted to play a guy who was stumbling through responsibility for the first time.
At this point, Brad has had all he can take of Hill sounding smarter than him and interrupts:
It was such a bold performance, such a study in reserve, Pitt gushed, turning the conversation back to him by praising Hill for being such a perfect counterbalance for this gregarious Billy Beane character.
Talking about playing the real-life Beane, Pitt said, I got such a kick out of...that he's so emotionally involved with that he can't even watch the baseball game.
Back to Hill sounding smarter than Pitt:
Bennett [Miller], our director, who's a genius, and Brad were really the brain trust of the film. They were working together in the bunker every day trying to figure out this really intricate book that people said was unfilmable.
It was interesting because he was my scene partner every day...I never thought that he could actually fire me at any point.
When asked what an Oscar win would mean to them, Pitt offered the requisite speech on how great it is just to be acknowledged, and said that he was thrilled about all the nominations -- including the writers -- because it would help difficult but worthwhile films like Moneyball get made in the future.
Here, Curry called him out a bit. He's so humble, she said, addressing Hill. I mean, am I right?
Offer Pitt's mumbled protests of But I really mean it, though Hill jumped in.
That's why I'm here, he said. I'm here to tell you how great he is in the movie and that I think he deserves to win.
This is why I brought Jonah, Pitt joked.
Both Pitt and Hill earned (deserved) Oscar nominations for their lead actor and supporting actor performances in Moneyball, which is also up for a Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay award.
Read our full review of Moneyball here.