Tall, thin and with an undeniable screen presence, Adrien Brody is one of the most underrated actors of Hollywood. A fashion world favourite and a musician, he is a jack of all trades. He remains, till date, the only actor who won an Oscar under the age of 30. A mix of sheer talent, intensity and discipline, he has become one of the most talked about faces in Hollywood. Now in his prime, at the age of 40, he’s branched out in terms of his film choices. The broody-yet-affable actor celebrates his 41st birthday today. Here’s a few of his best roles:

The Thin Red Line

One of the most spectacular war films made, it is also one of the most deeply philosophical films made. Starring alongside stalwarts like Sean Penn and John Travolta, the film was hailed as one of the greatest contemporary war films of all time. Nominated for seven Academy awards, the film also marked one of Adrien’s best roles till date, as Corporal Geoffrey Fife.

Summer of Sam

Spike Lee’s crime thriller Summer of Sam was a momentous film for Adrien. Not only was his performance as the street punk Ritchie appreciated, the film was also well-received by the critics and audiences. In the climactic fight scene, Adrien broke his nose, when his character Ritchie was to be brutally beaten up. No pain, no gain, eh?

The Darjeeling Limited

Directed by Wes Anderson, this indie film was dedicated to ace Indian director, Satyajit Ray. Adrien shines as the young, selfish and slightly demented man, Peter Whitman. A tale of three brothers aboard a train in India, the comedy-drama was praised for Brody’s honest performance. Brody loved the film himself, because it allowed him to drive across India on a Royal Enfield!

The Grand Budapest Hotel

His most recent film role, Adrien as the moustache-twirling villian charging down corridors and destroying Egon Schiele pictures, was truly memorable. The film was critically acclaimed all over the globe, and also won Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hair.

The Pianist

Saved the best for last! Undeniably what is considered as Adrien’s best film till date, The Pianist was the movie that earned Brody his Oscar. But only after considerable hard work did he win the coveted award. For his role as the Polish Jewish radio station pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, Brody withdrew from society, gave away his car and apartment, broke up with his girlfriend, shed 29 pounds and learned to play Chopin on the piano.

Success doesn’t come easy, and Adrien Brody has certainly worked hard. Here’s wishing the gifted actor a Happy Birthday, and a lot of success in the years to come!

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