Actors Who’ve Played Real-Life People (PHOTOS)

/ September 23, 2011

Moneyball, the upcoming sports drama film set to hit theaters on September 23, stars Brad Pitt portraying real-life general manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane.

In recent years, films based off of the lives of exceptional real-people people have proven to be huge successes, both with fans and with critics. 

One of the earliest award-winning biographical films was Erin Brockovich in 2000, which starred Julia Roberts as the titular environmental activist. Julia won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors’ Guild Award and BAFTA for Best Actress for her work in the film. Julia later went on to play another real-life female lead in Eat Pray Love

Ali star Will Smith has stated that his portrayal of Muhammad Ali, which was the result of a year’s worth of studying every aspect of the boxer’s life, is his proudest work. His Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2001 proved that critics agreed.

Charlize Theron won seventeen awards for her portrayal of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s Monster, among which were the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

In 2004, Leonardo DiCaprio was praised for his portrayal of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes in The Aviator, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

In that same year, Jamie Foxx received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as musician Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray.

Sandra Bullock’s performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in 2009’s emotionally powerful The Blind Side was praised by fans and critics alike, helping her win the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The film itself earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

This past awards season saw a slew of nominees recognized for their portrayals of real-life people. The Fighter, The King’s Speech and The Social Network were all based on true events. Christian Bale won an Oscar for his work in The Fighter, while The King’s Speech won for Best Picture and earned Colin Firth an Oscar. 

So, pair the success of recent biographical films with Brad Pitt’s notoriety, and it’s safe to say that we expect big things from Moneyball. Do you plan on seeing the film on Sept. 23?