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Paul Giamatti

The balding, likeable, nervous-looking character actor Paul Giamatti is the son of the author, Yale president, and major league baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. After earning his M.F.A. in Drama from Yale, the younger Giamatti got started on his acting career with small film parts and TV guest spots. He quickly became a recognizable face but his name was not yet well-known in Hollywood, while on-stage he appeared in lead roles for Broadway productions of The Three Sisters and The Iceman Cometh.

Giamatti's film breakthrough came in 1997 with the role of media executive Kenny (aka "Pig Vomit") in the Howard Stern movie Private Parts. In his next few films, he played small yet funny parts like the inept mob henchman in Safe Men, the slave-peddling ape in Planet of the Apes, and the bellboy in My Best Friend's Wedding. He then got starring roles in the HBO movies Winchell (opposite fellow character actor Stanley Tucci) and If These Walls Could Talk 2.

Giamatti seemed to get good parts in both independent films (Storytelling, Confidence) and in major studio blockbusters (Big Momma's House, Big Fat Liar). After playing the real-life eccentric Bob Zmuda in Milos Forman's Man on the Moon, he got his first major starring role in 2003 as the leading real-life eccentric Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

He received even more raves for his next film. As the wine-loving love-lorn lead in Sideways, Giamatti wowed critics and increased his popularity with audiences exponentially. However, despite the overwhelming accolades and multiple Oscar nominations for the film, Giamatti garnered no Academy wins for his work.

Next up, Giamatti returned to supporting work with a role in director Ron Howard's acclaimed 2005 biopic of boxer Jim Braddock, Cinderella Man. Giamatti was then at work on his next leading man project in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water. On the tails of these films, Giamatti found himself increasingly gravitating towards the status of leading man.

Still, it wasn't all big budget blockbusters for the screen's most well-known wine connisseur, and with a prominant role as an obsessive falconer in writer/director Jonathan Goldberger's 2006 adaptation of author Harry Crews' 1973 novel -The Hawk is Dying, Giamatti delivered the distinct message that his career was still very much about the creativity afforded to actors and not necessarily the financial payoff. An additional role in the romantic fantasy adventure The Illusionist that same year found Giamatti taking a trip back to turn-of-the-century Vienna to play a conflicted police inspector whose outward obligations to the aristocracy belie his growing suspicions that they may be covering up an especially confounding murder. With a voice that was equally as recognizable as his distinctive face, Giamatti began lending his vocal chords to a variety of animated projects including Robots, The Ant Bully, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and the curiously titled Amazing Screw-on Head.

Unrelenting in the coming years, Giamatti would continue to take on a wide range of memorable character roles, from a straight-talking bad guy in 2007's Shoot Em Up to founding father John Adams in the acclaimed mini-series. Criticss particularly enjoyed the actor's cereberal performances 2009's Cold Souls and The Last Station, but Giamatti remained equally interested in more light hearted fare as well, turning in a fun cameo in 2011's The Hangover Part II.

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Lady in the Water

$8.95 | 109 minutes

(2006) - Star(s)

M. Night Shyamalan (THE SIXTH SENSE, THE VILLAGE) continues his mission to revive the ancient art of storytelling--which he has diagnosed as a dying art--melding aspects of the fantastic with the mundane, and bringing to life a mythology&hellip…

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Win Win

$16.95 | 106 minutes

(2011) - Star(s)

Paul Giamatti headlines writer/director Tom McCarthy's comedy drama centering on a beleaguered attorney and part-time wrestling coach who schemes to keep his practice from going under by acting as the legal caretaker of an elderly client&hellip…

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