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Category: Jeff Bridges

Oscars: Colin Firth wins for lead actor

Colin Colin Firth won the Oscar for lead actor for his performance in “The King’s Speech” at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. The 50-year-old British actor was the odds-on favorite to pick up his first Oscar. He portrays England’s Prince Albert, who struggles to stop his stuttering before being crowned as King George VI.

Firth breezed through the award season, collecting a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Academy Award), as well as top honors from the majority of critics’ groups.

Firth was competing against Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network,” Oscar co-host James Franco for “127 Hours,” Jeff Bridges for “True Grit” and Javier Bardem for “Biutiful.”

The Academy Awards are taking place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and are being televised live on ABC. We'll carry all the breaking news and reaction here on Awards Tracker.

-- Susan King

Photo: Colin Firth with his actor Oscar. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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Oscars: Jeff Bridges nervous? Not the Dude!

Bridges Jeff Bridges, looking ever more like a taller version of Kris Kristofferson, shrugged when asked if this year's Oscar experience was less nerve-racking than last year's (when he picked up his first Oscar for his work in "Crazy Heart"). The "True Grit" actor smiled behind his bushy beard. "I don't remember being nervous last year."

 

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--Geoff Boucher

Photo: Jeff Bridges with his wife, Susan, at the Oscars. Credit: Mike Nelson / EPA


Oscars: Behind the scenes at rehearsals

Swank bigelowJeff Bridges gave a lead actress Oscar to Natalie Portman on Saturday afternoon at the Kodak Theatre. "Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!" Bridges shouted, signaling that Portman's acceptance speech was running long. Two minutes later, Bridges gave the same Oscar to Nicole Kidman. "Oh, you're Nicole Kidman? Hi, Nicole," Bridges said.

Neither actress was offended by Bridges' informal manner, since  neither was actually there. Bridges, who is nominated for lead actor this year for his performance in "True Grit," was one of dozens of stars who arrived to rehearse their roles in Sunday's Academy Awards, with the help of a small army of stand-ins. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr., Halle Berry, Javier Bardem, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Hudson practiced key skills like teleprompter reading, crossing the stage without tripping and pronouncing the foreign language nominees' names.

Some had pieces of their wardrobe along -- Swank brought some steep crystal-encrusted heels to try out, and her co-presenter for best director, Kathryn Bigelow, carried her gold shoes -- while most kept it casual.

"We're movin' around! We're everywhere!" said a hoodie-and-jeans-clad Kunis as she practiced her stage walk and waved at a very enthusiastic seat filler, who turned out to be Hudson's 18-month-old son.

Timberlake moonwalked downstage between takes.

"A pop-up mike?! That's cheeky," said Brand, as he practiced announcing with Mirren. "Don't stand over that, Russell," Mirren cautioned him with a wink.

"Do you want your publicist to have this or do you want it?" Downey was asked about his Oscar credential, which had a photo of the actor. "I want my hairdresser to have it, to duplicate that look," Downey said, before stepping into place to rehearse.

"They changed my words!" Bardem said, while squinting into the teleprompter. Told teasingly to breathe, he said, "I can't breathe in this," smoothing his hands over his blazer.

By day's end, the real Nicole Kidman had turned up. Dressed in a slinky red dress, Kidman, no stranger to the Academy Awards as a previous winner, got some direction on one of Oscar's new wrinkles. "We have substantial envelopes this year, so you can get a feel for them," Kidman was told, as she was handed her rehearsal prop.

Gazing out into the crowd, Kidman looked for her seat and smiled when it was finally pointed out to her. She'll be sitting in the front row.


 -- Rebecca Keegan

Photo: Hilary Swank, left, and Kathryn Bigelow on Saturday practice presenting for the Oscars. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Academy Awards: The Coen brothers find that cowboy gear is more than a fashion statement

Coen bros 
Jeff Bridges has been taking panoramic on-set photos with his Widelux camera for 30-odd years, usually compiling them into a book that he gives to the cast and crew of each film he shoots.

“True Grit” was no exception and, paging through the book recently, Bridges points to a picture that always makes him laugh -- city slickers Joel and Ethan Coen wearing cowboy hats on location in Texas.

“It’s an incongruous sight, isn’t it?” Bridges asks, cackling. (You can see the photo for yourself on Bridges’ website.)

When asked about their cowboy duds, Ethan Coen laughs but quickly points out that the functionality of the garb takes it beyond a Village People dress-up thing.

“It’s a style, yeah, but when you’re out there, you learn that the hats and bandannas have a use,” he says. “They have wind! We had weather concerns going in, but we had so much worse weather than we expected, including horrible wind and dust. So, it turns out you actually need all that cowboy paraphernalia.”

There's evidence of that horrible wind Ethan talks about in the scene in which Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger rides off in disgust, telling Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn that he’s “graduated from marauder to wet nurse.” Hailee Steinfeld’s Mattie asks, “We don’t need him, do we, Marshal?”

“And as she’s saying that line, she was literally blown off her mark by a 50 mph gust of a wind,” Joel Coen says. “You can see a little bit of it still in the movie, but we’ve got an outtake of her just flying.”

“She just kind of leaned more and more to counter the wind,” Ethan adds. “It was like a Buster Keaton movie, man.”

-- Glenn Whipp

 Photo: Ethan Coen, left, and Joel Coen on the set of "True Grit." Credit: Paramount Pictures


BAFTA Award: Colin Firth wins for best actor

Colin Bafta Colin Firth won the leading actor trophy for his performance as King George VI in "The King's Speech" on Sunday at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.

Firth, who won the same honor last year for his role in Tom Ford's "A Single Man," is considered the front-runner for the Oscar in the same category. The top British film award and the Oscars have aligned fairly closely in recent years.

His competition was Javier Bardem for "Biutiful," Jeff Bridges for "True Grit," Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network" and James Franco for "127 Hours."

The awards, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, were handed out  at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in London.

--Susan King

Photo of Colin Firth from Getty Images.


Javier Bardem needs a translator -- not for English, for Jeff Bridges

Bridges 
Javier Bardem loves watching the work of his fellow actors. Paul Giamatti’s piss-and-vinegar performance in “Barney’s Version” deeply moved him, and he dug Kevin Spacey in “Casino Jack” and Michael Douglas’ turn in “Solitary Man.”

And the star of "Biutiful" has, of course, seen and enjoyed the work of his fellow lead actor Oscar nominees. Well … with one exception. He couldn’t understand what the heck Jeff Bridges was saying through much of the Coen brothers’ “True Grit.”

"Jeff Bridges is one of my idols," Bardem says. "He is one of those actors who has never done anything wrong. And he has done a lot of movies! But I saw it and it’s so thick, the accent that he has in the movie. So it was not easy for me to ... " Bardem pauses and lets out a groan, " ... get in there."

The pain is, yes, literally audible. Because Bardem not only loves Bridges, he also loves the Coens, having won an Oscar with them playing the stone-cold killer in "No Country for Old Men."

Bardem even asked his "No Country" costar Josh Brolin if it was just him or was Bridges' raspy Rooster Cogburn hard to decipher.

"He told me, ‘It’s not just you, Javier. Those accents are strong. That’s the way they speak,' " Bardem relates.

But the Spanish actor isn’t giving up. He plans to revisit "True Grit" once he returns home to Madrid.

"Then I can see it with subtitles and understand what’s going on," he says, smiling. "I’m looking forward to it."

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Jeff Bridges in "True Grit." Credit: Paramount Pictures


If I Ran the Oscars: Comedian Jon Manfrellotti takes a shot

Manfrellotti In this interview series, we ask a host of famous free thinkers to recast the Oscars in their own image. Please direct your attention to our next presenter: actor-comedian Jon Manfrellotti, who steals scenes weekly as Manfro the bookie on TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age”:

 Now that the nominations have been released, which films and performers do you think the academy voters will pick to win the Oscars this year?

For best picture, I think it’s going to be “The Social Network.” Everybody and his brother is on a computer, so now they can go online and tell each other, “I TOLD you it was going to be ‘The Social Network’!”

They’re probably going to give best actress to Natalie Portman. She made a weird face into the camera, and had a lesbian scene, so she’ll get it. On the men’s side, it’ll be Christian Bale for supporting actor, because he lost weight, and it’ll probably be Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech.” You gotta feel bad for a king who lisps.

So if you were in charge of the academy, who would go home with Oscars this year?

Me personally, I’d give it to Jeff Bridges, because I love him. I think he’s great. I know he won last year, and he’s playing the same character but this time with an eye patch. But he still pulled it off. And Hailee Steinfeld blew me away. She was phenomenal. But man, where do you go from there? Better go right into rehab and get it over with.

Which films and performers from the past do you feel deserved the Oscar but didn’t receive one?

Glenn Close should have won for “Dangerous Liaisons.” She lost to Cher in “Moonstruck.” Come on, was Sonny stuffing the ballot? And “Raging Bull” lost to “Ordinary People.” It should have been called “Ordinary Movie.” You talk about a boring movie -– instead of anesthesia, they should show “Ordinary People” before surgery.

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Jeff Bridges' 'True Grit' photos hit the iPad

Bridges photo 

Oscars 2011 is really going high-tech. First, four studios have offered screeners of their contenders for Screen Actors Guild Awards to voters through iTunes downloads. Now Paramount has compiled photographs shot by "True Grit" star Jeff Bridges while on set (he's long been a devoted photographer on every set he's on) into a free iPad app available now. The app allows consumers, and awards voters presumably, to take a look at all of Bridges' photographs from that film and buy tickets for the movie too.

Viewers can also watch the trailer and TV spot for the film, which has now grossed close to $130 million at the box office.

The app isn't really featuring anything that we haven't seen elsewhere. Bridges' photos can be found in a book that's been compiled for the film and have been used in various magazines profiling the movie. Still, the photos are quite beautiful and the look behind the scenes is great, especially from Bridges' point of view. I just love that the guy knows all his crew members and captures some great candid moments between his costars. You can check out the app here.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: "True Grit" director Joel Coen with actress Hailee Steinfeld on the first day of shooting. Credit: Jeff Bridges


Golden Globe predictions: 'King's Speech' or 'Social Network' to reign?

Golden_globe_set_2008Predicting the Golden Globes is hard because the awards are bestowed by such a quirky group of foreign journalists with unusual tastes. But let's try it anyway. First the film categories.

-- Tom O'Neil

X = predicted winner

PICTURE (DRAMA)
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"Inception"
"The King's Speech"
X - "The Social Network"

PREDICTION: This is a close contest between "King's Speech" and "Social Network." Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often like foreign-set films, especially when they involve the British aristocracy, as evidenced by past victories here by "Atonement," "The English Patient" and "Sense and Sensibility." But sometimes the foreigners strive to do the opposite – to prove how in tune they  are with hip Yankee fare such as "Avatar" last year – and "Social Network" this year? I think so, yes.


PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
"Alice in Wonderland"
"Burlesque"
X - "The Kids Are All Right"
"Red"
"The Tourist"

PREDICTION: "Kids" is the only movie on this list that has any hope of an Oscar nomination for best picture, so it'll probably prevail. But is it really a comedy?


DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
X - David Fincher, "Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"

PREDICTION: Unlike Oscar voters, Globe voters often spread the wealth and reward helmers of films that don't win best picture. But I don't think that's going to happen this year.


ACTOR (DRAMA)
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
X - Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"
Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"
Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"

PREDICTION: Firth hasn't lost a single award yet this season – and he's not going to lose this one, or any other, en route to the Oscar crown.

 

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What does 'True Grit's' box-office run mean for its Oscar chances?

True grit 
In the last two weeks, "True Grit" has defied all box-office expectations. The Coen brothers' PG-13 western has grossed an astounding $86.7 million since it opened on Christmas weekend. It outranked the other new wide release, "Gulliver's Travels," its opening weekend by $18 million and in its sophomore session it lost only 1% of its value after Paramount added 36 theaters to its run.

Costing less than $40 million, the film is on track to outpace "Little Fockers" and "Tron: Legacy" in profitability and may wind up being the most successful holiday release of the season. In its very short run time, the film has already outgrossed the Coens' "No Country for Old Men," becoming the brothers' most commercially successful film of their 20-year-plus career. It's also the pair's highest-rated critical hit of their career.

What does all this mean for the film's Oscar chances? Despite the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. ignoring the movie completely (Paramount submitted it as a comedy and the foreign journalists apparently didn't get the film's humor) most year-end lists have included the Jeff Bridges-and-Matt Damon film. And now with its box-office performance being one of the few bright spots in this dreary holiday moviegoing season, "True Grit" may just get a more serious look from academy voters, beyond the best picture nod it's destined to receive.

Bridges and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld have already been recognized by the Screen Actors Guild  for their performances. But perhaps more guild love beginning Tuesday with the writers guild and producers guild noms will tilt the scale in favor of the brothers' first foray into the western.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in "True Grit." Credit: Lorey Sebastian/Paramount Pictures

 



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