Oscar Actors: Brody, Adrien–Background, Career, Awards (Oscar Jinx)

Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973)  received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Polanski’s The Pianist (2002), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar at age 29, the youngest actor to win in that category.

Brody is the second male American actor (after Christopher Lambert) to receive the César Award for Best Actor.

Other successful films that Brody has starred in are The Thin Red Line (1998), The Village (2004), King Kong (2005), and Predators (2010). He is a frequent collaborator of Wes Anderson’s, having starred in four of Anderson’s films, The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and The French Dispatch (2020).

Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York City, the son of Sylvia Plachy, a photographer, and Elliot Brody, a retired history professor and painter. Brody’s father is of Polish Jewish descent, and his mother, who was raised as a Catholic, was born in Budapest, Hungary, and is the daughter of a Catholic Hungarian aristocrat father and a Czech Jewish mother. Brody was raised “without a strong connection” to either Judaism or Catholicism.

As a child, Brody performed magic shows at children’s birthday parties as “The Amazing Adrien.”

He attended I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong Middle School and New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. His parents enrolled him in acting classes to distance him from the dangerous children. He attended summer camp at Long Lake Camp for the Arts in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Brody attended Stony Brook University before transferring to Queens College for a semester.

Taking acting classes as a child, by age 13, he appeared in an Off-Broadway play and a PBS TV film.

After appearing in Bullet in 1996 with Tupac Shakur and Mickey Rourke, Brody hovered on the brink of stardom, receiving an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his role in the 1998 film Restaurant, and later praise for his roles in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam

Oscar for The Pianist

He received recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002). To prepare for the role, Brody withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and car, broke up with his then-girlfriend, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, he is 6’1″ (1.85m) and lost thirty pounds (13.6 kg) dropping him to 130 lbs (59 kg). The role won him the Best Actor Oscar, making him, at age 29, the youngest actor ever to win the award, and to date the only winner under the age of 30. He also won a César Award for his performance.

Brody appeared on Saturday Night Live on May 10, 2003, his first TV work, during which he controversially gave an improvised introduction, while wearing faux dreadlocks and a Jamaican accent for Jamaican reggae musical guest Sean Paul (without Lorne Michaels’ permission), causing him to be banned. Other TV appearances include NBC’s The Today Show, and on MTV’s Punk’d after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher.

After The Pianist, Brody appeared in Dummy (released in 2003, but originally shot in 2000, just prior to his work in The Pianist), he portrayed Steven Schoichet, a socially awkward aspiring ventriloquist in pursuit of a love interest (his employment counsellor). He learned ventriloquism and puppetry for the role (under the tutelage of actor/ventriloquist Alan Semok) and performed all the voice stunts and puppet manipulation live on set in real time, with no subsequent post dubbing.

He played Noah Percy, a mentally disabled man, in The Village by M. Night Shyamalan; shell-shocked war veteran Jack Starks in The Jacket, writer Jack Driscoll in the 2005 King Kong remake, and father-to-be Peter Whitman in The Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson. King Kong was both a critical and box office success, grossing $550 million worldwide, and is Brody’s most successful film to date. He also voiced Jack Driscoll in the video game adaptation.

Brody played a detective in Hollywoodland.

He has also appeared in Diet Coke and Schweppes commercials, as well as Tori Amos’ music video for “A Sorta Fairytale.”

Brody was interested in the role of The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, but Chris Nolan and Warner Bros. decided instead to cast Heath Ledger in the role.

He was also in talks with Paramount to play Spock in J. J. Abrams Star Trek XI, but it ultimately went to Zachary Quinto.

In 2009, he starred in Splice, a science fiction film written and directed by Vincenzo Natali. Splice was adopted by Dark Castle Entertainment and distributed by Warner. In 2010, he played the star role of Royce in Predators (a sequel to the original Predator), directed by Nimród Antal and produced by Robert Rodriguez.

In 2011, Brody starred in a Stella Artois beer ad called “Crying Jean” that premiered right after half-time of the Super Bowl XLV as part of Stella’s “She Is a Thing of Beauty” campaign.

He appeared in Woody Allen’s 2011 Oscar-winning comedy Midnight in Paris as Salvador Dalí.

On January 16, 2012, Brody made his debut as a runway model for Prada Men Fall/Winter 2012 show.

In 2014, Brody collaborated again with Wes Anderson in the Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel, where he played Dmitri.

Emmy Nom

He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or in a Movie for portraying the titular character in Houdini, a History channel miniseries. The following year, he starred as Tiberius in the Chinese film Dragon Blade.

On August 4, 2017, he received the Leopard Club Award at the Locarno Festival, as homage to a major film personality whose work has made a lasting impact on the collective imagination.

In 1992, Brody was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident in which he flew over a car and crashed head-first into a crosswalk. He spent months recuperating. He has broken his nose three times doing stunts; the most recent during the filming of Summer of Sam.

He dated Michelle Dupont, a music industry personal assistant, from 2003 to 2006. She was his date to the 2003 Oscars.

Brody began dating Spanish actress Elsa Pataky in 2006. The pair broke up in 2009.

In 2010, Brody sued the Giallo filmmakers, alleging that they failed to pay his full salary.

In February 2020 it was reported that he was dating Georgina Chapman.

 

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