It looks like the Palm Springs International Film Festival has chosen its Oscar stallion for the year. Brad Pitt has been selected to receive the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award for his lead role in "Moneyball" and his supporting role in "The Tree of Life."

As has oft been discussed, Palm Springs's tendency toward predictive selections for its honorees has only increased over time. When the festival announced that Michelle Williams would be this year’s female awardee, we pointed out that the male recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award has gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for four straight years. Will this be the fifth?

I am an admirer of Pitt’s work. I respect that he took a career that could have been vanilla ice cream and shaped it into something unique. He makes interesting choices. He has grown over time and been willing to do so. That takes a particular kind of will and character. It amazes me how often people continue to dismiss him as an actor because he happens to be an extraordinarily good-looking movie star. I would prefer to see his work in “The Tree of Life” honored this year, but I would not be surprised to see him nominated in both fields.

“Brad Pitt consistently mesmerizes audiences with the depth and versatility of his performances," festival chairman Harold Mattzner said in the press release. "He has the rare ability to interpret and capture the most complicated facets of human nature, infusing his roles with strength and emotion.”

Pitt has already received the Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle this year for his roles in "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life" and Best Actor for the former from the Boston Society of Film Critics. He’s also received nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Screen Actors Guild for "Moneyball." Meanwhile, Time’s Richard Corliss selected Pitt as the #1 movie performance of the year for his roles in "Moneyball," "The Tree of Life" and, yes, "Happy Feet Two."

In 2007, Pitt, along with the cast of "Babel," received Palm Springs’s Ensemble Performance Award.  Past honorees of the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award include Jeff Bridges, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Penn, John Travolta and James Stewart.

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