Matt Damon: I knew the HFPA 'didn't like' Golden Globe-snubbed 'True Grit'
When "True Grit" was shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Tuesday, many in town were left scratching their heads. Even in advance of its Dec. 22 release, the Coen-brothers-directed western has been buzzed about by award pundits, with many predicting the film will earn Oscar nominations for best picture, best actor (Jeff Bridges) and best supporting actress (14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld).
But Matt Damon, who stars in the film as the hijinks-prone lawman La Boeuf, says he knew long before this week that "True Grit" wasn't going to get any love at the Golden Globes.
"I actually heard beforehand that [the HFPA] didn't like it. They'll tell you beforehand, like, 'I don't get it!'" Damon said, putting on a vaguely European accent to imitate a member of the HFPA, many of whose members hail from abroad.
As my colleague Steven Zeitchik noted earlier this week, the HFPA has never truly embraced westerns. They also just didn't find the film funny, according to one person who was in the room at a recent group screening.
But when asked what specific issues the HFPA had with "True Grit," Damon said he wasn't entirely sure.
"I actually didnít do the junket and the press conference with [the HFPA], because I was shooting, but even then, my publicist called and said, 'Yeah, the word from the junket was they didn't like it," he recalled. "And there's nothing you can really do in that situation."
Still, Damon is hopeful that Oscar voters will recognize "True Grit" when nominations are announced in January. He also has his own thoughts on how the awards process should be recalibrated.
"Those things really do matter for the bottom line of the movie," he said. "But the way I feel about awards is that the real barometer by which you measure a movie is that you should look at it 10 years later. That way, you could get the machinery out of the way, and all of the stuff bending the opinion based on the day. If a movie survives for 10 years, it all becomes a lot clearer."
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Matt Damon in "True Grit." Credit: Wilson Webb / Paramount Pictures
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