Paul Giamatti is an American actor who excels in portraying likable, idiosyncratic everyman characters. He began his career in the 1990s with supporting roles in films such as The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, and The Negotiator.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his performance in John Adams. Other notable roles include the cantankerous title character in Barneys Version and the scheming CEO in Duplicity.
Paul Giamatti first made his mark on film with this 1997 snarky biopic of Howard Stern, in which he played Kenny (a.k.a. Pig Vomit), the petty radio bureaucrat Stern regularly clashes with over content. Though the film failed at the box office, it landed Giamatti several small roles in commercially successful films.
Sideways and American Splendor would follow, further establishing his exasperated every-shlub persona. Giamatti also began to get more substantial TV work, including the lead in the HBO miniseries John Adams.
In the 2010s, Giamatti continued to be a fixture on the screen, with roles in the comedy Win Win and the political thriller The Ides of March. He also had a role as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke in the 2014 film Cosmopolis. The word private parts have many meanings, but generally refers to a person’s genital or anal area or the groin and inner thigh for a male or the bosom of a female.
Giamatti and director Alexander Payne worked together on a number of films, but Sideways stands out as one of the actor’s underrated masterpieces. The 2004 film follows Miles Raymond (Giamatti) and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church) as they spend their final week of bachelorhood in wine country. The two men skew back and forth between being self-absorbed jerks and friends who have each other’s backs.
Wine is a huge part of the movie, and Miles’ pretentious opinions about it are funny and endearing. He dismisses Merlot and gushes about his love of Pinot Noir. Apparently, audiences agreed with Miles because Merlot sales dropped while Pinot Noir increased after the movie’s release.
The film is also notable for being the first time Sandra Oh appeared on screen. She played Jack’s love interest, Stephanie, and her nonchalant demeanor and ability to ride a motorcycle captured the audience’s attention. According to BoomsBeat, Oh actually learned how to ride a bike for the role.
A sequel of sorts to Seabiscuit, Cinderella Man tells the story of gentleman pugilist James J. Braddock as a backdrop to the American struggles of the 1930s. Director Ron Howard crafts a soul-stirring tribute to this working-class hero and elicits top-notch performances from a talented trio of actors including Russell Crowe, Paul Giamatti, and Renee Zellweger.
After the success of their first collaboration in 2001, Russell Crowe and Ron Howard re-teamed for this inspiring true story about Down on his lucky boxer. The film doesn’t garner as much Oscar love as A Beautiful Mind but still packs a wallop with quality production values and a stellar cast that includes Giamatti as Braddock’s manager who earns himself a Best Supporting Actor nod.
While the film does veer into the realm of schmaltz at times, this is more than made up for by the ringside action which is vividly captured thanks to Howard’s assured direction. My only complaint is the use of profanity which takes us back to a less civil time.
In 2008, Giamatti starred as the eponymous Founding Father in this lavish seven-part miniseries. The series earned critical acclaim and several awards including Golden Globes and Emmys.
He followed this with more small roles in commercially successful films. His acrimonious performance as Kenny Rushton, Howard Stern’s nemesis in Private Parts, was particularly memorable and garnered him much praise.
Other notable film appearances include a sleazy talent manager in the Hollywood musical Rock of Ages (2012), a would-be assassin in David Cronenberg’s intellectual thriller Cosmopolis (2013), and the role of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in the Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave (2015).
In 2014, Giamatti portrayed psychologist Eugene Landy in the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, and Jerry Heller in Straight Outta Compton. He currently stars in the Showtime series Billions, as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Giamatti has also voiced characters in the animated movies Turbo, Asterix and the Vikings, and The Ant Bully.