By Kate Ward
Updated January 24, 2012 at 05:55 PM EST
Andrew Evans/PR Photos

It’s been a good day for Brad Pitt. Not only is he Brad Pitt, but he also scored a Best Actor nomination for his work in Moneyball and watched both Moneyball and The Tree of Life nab nominations for Best Picture. So it’s no surprise that the actor is “over the moon” about the 2012 Oscars lineup. “[These projects spent] years in gestation, with many stops and starts, a whole lot of people involved, even people putting their jobs on the line,” Pitt tells EW. “So this is it, a great honor for everyone involved.” And Moneyball costar Jonah Hill’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor? “That’s just icing on the cake,” he says.

This year’s nomination is an especially meaningful one for Pitt. The actor, who has been nominated twice before for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Twelve Monkeys (1995), served as producer on both Moneyball and The Tree of Life. “I was working on both films from their inception,” he says. “And just what it took to get to the screen — all the artists and all the craftsmen, all the great talented people. And I’m just so happy that Tree of Life wasn’t forgotten.”

Of course, it has some stiff competition, especially from front-runners The Artist and The Descendants. But, for now, Pitt’s not focusing on Oscar’s Feb. 26 outcome. “At this point it almost becomes apples and oranges,” he says. “It’s a great, great group of films and I’m just so happy that our two films are recognized this way, because as I said, Moneyball was just dead in the water two years ago and The Tree of Life had its own difficulties.”

Speaking of The Descendants, how does Pitt feel about going up against good cane-stealing friend George Clooney in the Best Actor category? “It’s great fun having a friend in there and if it’s not me, then it might as well be him,” he says. I couldn’t be more happy.” TV viewers agree.

(Reporting by Keith Staskiewicz)

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