The two finest performances of Damon's career might both be ignored by the academy, some fear. He was the slimy cop in The Departed and an angst-ridden recruit for the fledgling CIA in Shepherd.
"I'm more impressed with him with every passing film," Maltin says. "He doesn't make conventional movie-star choices. And the character in The Good Shepherd is so bottled up that he has to internalize almost all of his emotions. That's challenging for any actor."
Have you been noticing what's happening to Brad Pitt's career? This Christmas, in America, Matt Damon is giving a really sensational performance in The Good Shepherd (in which a shy, retiring man turns into a ghost or a spook before your very eyes). The threat in the Bourne films is really paying off. Earlier in the year, Damon punched his weight in The Departed. Two knockout performances in a year - and Damon is seven years younger than Pitt.
George Clooney survives because of all the other things he does. The same goes for Matt Damon. But Brad Pitt is behaving as if they [Ocean's movies] were real jobs of work.
There's too much competition around for him to be complacent. Damon is flying now.
George Clooney, a Berlinale regular, is expected to attend, as are, barring scheduling conflicts, "Good Shepherd" co-stars Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.