But nearly everyone agrees that after five nominations, Bridges was long overdue for his Oscar, and "Crazy Heart" was as good a time as any to recognize one of the finest, most versatile and most authentic actors around.
Bridges wears his characters like old jeans, edges frayed, stiffness washed out ages ago, and "Crazy Heart" is no exception. From the moment he rolls into the cracked parking lot of a used-up bowling alley, heat and drink making the sweat run and the stench rise, Bad is as familiar as family.
At age 60, the actor has created so many unforgettable characters; as good as Bad is, he's just another face in the crowd. It began inauspiciously, the uncredited "infant at train station" in 1951's "The Company She Keeps." He has kept good company since, mostly smaller, character-driven roles with filmmakers who appreciate his range. Bridges stars next in the action epic "Tron Legacy." With a rumored $300-million budget, there's nothing small about it. The Coen brothers' coming "True Grit," with Bridges as the marshal, seems a better fit. The 1969 version won John Wayne an Oscar; it could do the same for Bridges. Maybe it's time the academy makes this a habit.
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