A year late, but Brad Pitt finally received the best actor award he won from the Venice Film Festival in 2007 for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."
"I guess you forgot something here years ago," said the mistress of ceremonies, handing him the gold cup.
"You can run but you can't hide," Pitt said accepting it. "It was an honor to receive this last year and it's an honor to receive it this year. Thank you very much."
It's common for stars not to be present to accept the Venice Film Festival awards. The prizes are bestowed on the fest's final night at which point most celebs have gone home. Sometimes winners turn around and hurry back to reap the honor, but often they can't. That's what happened to Ben Affleck. Two years ago he found out that he won best actor for "Hollywoodland" soon after he landed in Los Angeles after returning from Venice. Affleck scrambled to try to arrange flights to get back before the fest officially closed, but without success.
Last year Brad Pitt attended the Venice Film Festival to promote "Jesse James," but left before awards night after being jumped by a crazed fan who pushed past his bodyguards and threw her arms around the heartthrob star. Pitt was obviously shaken by the ambush and said afterward, "I haven't been jumped like that in a while. It tells me that we're vulnerable. It's something I have been thinking about, but I don't want to change my life to avoid those kind of things. I've had break-ins in the house and I'm dealing with a recent one now. You also develop a radar. You feel it when you are approached by unbalanced people."
Last year Pitt triumphed over his longtime pal and "Burn After Reading" costar George Clooney, who competed for "Michael Clayton," plus James McAvoy ("Atonement"), Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah") and Tony Leung Chiu Wai ("Lust, Caution," winner of the Golden Lion as best picture).
Pitt did not end up reaping an Oscar nomination for "Jesse James," but that's not unusual. Over the last 20 years, only two stars who won best actor at the Venice Film Festival were nommed by the academy: David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") and Javier Bardem ("Before Night Falls"). Neither won the Oscar.
BELOW: Brad Pitt and George Clooney at the press conference in Venice for "Burn After Reading" where Pitt says of his role as ditzy gym trainer who holds a computer disc of secret info: "After reading the part, which they said was hand-written for myself, I was not sure if I should be flattered or insulted."
Pitt isn't eligible to win best actor at the festival for "Burn After Reading," which is unspooling out of competition. That's probably a good thing considering the reviews it got today from the top U.S. tradepapers. Variety said, " 'Burn After Reading' is a flame-out." The Hollywood Reporter was less hostile, calling it "a minor piece of silliness."
(Photo by Franco Origlia of Getty)