2011 Oscars Challenge: True Grit

In my solemn opinion, “True Grit” should be the 2010 Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It truly is a film that absolutely anyone can get behind and with ten nominations on the big night, why wouldn’t it make a great Best Picture? Then again, I feel the race should be between “True Grit” and “Inception” while everyone else appears to believe “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” are the films to root for.

“True Grit”, though a remake of a John Wayne film, is the better of the two films. Many critics express a “hell will freeze over” sentiment if Jeff Bridges wins for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the award that went to John Wayne for the same part (Marshall Rooster Cogburn). This would be Bridges second year in a row winning this award (last year’s was for “Crazy Heart”) which would make for an exciting story. Jeff Bridges makes the film what it is and delivers the rough and tough demeanor that was missing from Wayne’s performance. Bridges embodies this part and proves the performance of a lifetime.


Sadly, Bridges is shoved aside by Colin Firth (and some say Jesse Eisenberg) for the Best Leading Actor category. Firth was considered robbed last year for his nomination in “A Single Man”, as the award went to Bridges. Imagine it happening two years in a row. I support Colin Firth, and his win at the Golden Globes was my favorite win of the night, but then again, Bridges was not nominated whatsoever. I am praying on a miracle that Bridges wins for the second consecutive year in a row.

The big story is whether Hailee Steinfeld can pull off the Best Supporting Actress win from the ladies of “The Fighter”. Melissa Leo won the Golden Globe, but “True Grit” had been left out entirely. For the longest time, I was victim of tunnel vision on “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” squaring off in all categories, but with an eye opening (and honest) prediction list from Roger Ebert, I started to consider the successfulness of “True Grit”.


Imagine Bridges winning Best Lead Actor and Steinfeld winning Best Supporting Actress (they did put her in this category to give her a better chance of winning as she is clearly a leading role in the film). This would make “True Grit” more of a contender. Steinfeld is so young and plays the part like she had been acting all her life. The ball is definitely in the young woman’s court this year Oscar night.

The Coen Brothers snuck into their nomination, as most critics will tell you. Having won for “No Country For Old Men” back in 2008, it is discussed that they will not be awarded this year. But take a good hard look at their 2010 film and try to tell yourself they do not deserve it. Reimagining a classic is hard enough, but to add your own distinct style and portraying it successful is a feat that not any director can overcome. The Coen Brothers are a force of nature.


The problem lies in David Fincher winning the Golden Globe for “Social Network” director and Tom Hooper winning the Directors Guild Award for “The King’s Speech”. Again we are at the “Network” versus “Speech” race instead of a more interesting one with more likable films. Even seeing The Coen Brothers against David Fincher would be a more exciting race. Perhaps we can hope that all the Fincher and Hooper votes equal themselves out and Coen Brothers can rise to the occasion.

The adapted screenplay nomination is exciting as The Coen Brothers openly announced that instead of remaking the original “True Grit”, they were going back to the source material; the 1968 novel by Charles Portis. That being said, it takes a very literal look at the book and finds the humor that hides in the pages, just happening to fit the offbeat humor of the Coens. The problem again: “The Social Network” and Aaron Sorkin. Apparently he is the force to be reckoned with as most believe he will undoubted take the award.


Costume Design and Art Direction go hand in hand with “True Grit”. For a western, these aspects are extremely important in producing a successful looking genre piece and “True Grit” graces both with effective displays. The costumes, especially Mattie’s, are eye catching and memorable. Though most of the film is shot outdoors, the inn, the shops, and the main street are highlights of the film and keep you immersed in the world the Coens create. The top contenders for Costume Design lie in “Alice in Wonderland” and “The King’s Speech”, all coming from different genres and periods.

Sound Editing and Mixing are, again, the hardest categories for me to determine. That being said, there is nothing sound related that takes you out of the film. The gunshots are explosive, the horses balanced nicely, and the soundtrack almost derives from the action on screen, whether it be the shootouts or the arrival of the train or the hanging of the outlaws. That said, “True Grit” deserves any awards it gets and if that happens to be the Sound Design awards, then all power to it.


Best Cinematography rounds out the film’s awards and rightfully so. There are a few moments of confusion with the cinematic choices, most notable are the scenes at the end of Rooster carrying Mattie on horse and then by foot. The camera angles appear awkward and unappealing, almost causing one to turn away from the scenes. However, Roger Deakins more than makes up for this by delivering absolutely gorgeous shots throughout the entire film. A staple in westerns are the wide open spaces and Deakins does not fail to make the open range something of a sublime nature. Ultimately, every single cinematographer in the category would deserve the award given the gold on the big night.

So what it all comes down to is if the Academy members can look passed all the propaganda and hearsay and simply look at the films for what they truly are. In my utmost honest opinion, “True Grit” would make a perfect Best Picture of 2010 and really becomes that with all its nominations. If it can even take half of those awards, it earns itself closer to a huge upset come Oscar night and I will be the first one to stand and applaud when that happens. Anything to keep both “Social Network” and “King’s Speech” from being the only two winners of the night.

(27 OF 41 FILMS REMAINING)-(21 DAYS TO OSCARS)


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