Another thing they have in common, other than caring for their children – all three have daughters, only Damon has a son — is that they cry. Both The Descendants and We Bought a Zoo, those tears are brought on by their personal relationship. In Moneyball, the tears are more about happiness, disbelieving happiness that things worked out, for once, in Billy Beane’s life. Of all three of these characters, only Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane is digging himself out of failure. Clooney and Damon have suffered blows — leaving them to raise their children alone. But Pitt isn’t raising a child so much as he’s trying to, finally, making something of himself.
Women don’t figure in much to any of these three odes to fatherhood. They only figure in as influences, forces to be reckoned with, but they are gone. The men are left to fend for themselves. This year’s Oscar race is not really about women. Only one film, The Help, is about women. And thus, it stands in stark contrast to the themes offered up in the Best Picture race thus far.