Jonah Hill received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Peter Brand in Moneyball.
This is not to say he is bad though, but it is not a particularly remarkable performance. He plays the number cruncher as one would expect the number cruncher he has rather unimpressive presence all throughout and Pitt dominates every scene they are in together. Hill basically keeps Peter Brand as the fairly unassuming individual of the two who tells Beane what he needs to know, but never really does more than that. Hill remains functional most certainly, and is as Brand should be what that is is not anything notable. He only ever offers ammunition to the overall plot, and to Pitt, but never really takes a shot himself.
I suppose most of the performance really is what his chemistry with Pitt is but really their relationship is not really two sided in the film. As I said Pitt dominates every scene, Hill just does as he needs to for Brand nothing more. His scenes with Pitt I never found to be the standout in the scene, and if they were effective scenes that was really all do to Pitt. Hill performance simply is pretty much repetition of Peter Brand's simple manner of telling what he knows and nothing more. Really though I think Peter Brand actually could have been more under different hands than Hill's, as he could have stood out more if he actually took a scene from the film's leading actor but Hill never does.
Hill does have two scenes where he is suppose could have been used to show a different side other than the solely number crunching side of Brand. One he makes a deal over the phone for Beane and has a reaction when he succeeds. I have to say Hill again is very standard with this moment, and reacts as one would expect but he really does not show any particularly special joy, or passion in this scene to make it of note. His other scene is his final scene where he basically tries to cheer up Beane, but again Hill does not do anything special here. It might have been a little more meaningful if he showed Brand to be more supportive, of a character throughout, or perhaps showed growth of some really passion for Beane's cause, but the simple truth is Hill never does this.
In the end I really did not feel like Hill's performance ever gave Peter Brand much of a purpose other than to just set up the plot of the film. I suppose Peter Brand could have been a far more humorous and frankly more interesting if he had been portrayed by a stronger performer, but as is it just a standard standard part as portrayed by Hill. I still won't say that Hill is awful really, but this is not a strong performance by any means in anyway. I am just amazed really that anyone could find this performance to be something substantial, and something that just has to be awarded over far superior from far better actors, particularly one funnier comedian who also is a far more talented actor. Also I should note I promise not to bring up Brooks' snub in any more of my reviews of the other performances.