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'True Grit' goes 0-for-10 at Oscars

The western fails to win a single one of its nominations.

February 28, 2011|By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
  • "True Grit" actor Jeff Bridges with his wife Susan at the 83rd Academy Awards.
"True Grit" actor Jeff Bridges with his wife Susan at the 83rd… (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles…)

It's not the most esteemed company in which to find oneself after Oscar night.

With zero wins to show for its 10 nominations Sunday night, "True Grit" became one of only four movies in the history of the Academy Awards to be shut out so dramatically.

The last was Martin Scorsese's historical drama "Gangs of New York," which also went 0-for-10 in 2003.

Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple" and the Shirly MacLaine-Anne Bancroft ballet drama "The Turning Point" didn't get a single trophy for their 11 nominations in 1986 and 1978, respectively.

"True Grit" was always a longshot for the top prizes, such as best picture, actor and director, in part because star Jeff Bridges won last year for "Crazy Heart" and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen landed trophies in 2008 for "No Country for Old Men." The western's respected director of photography, Roger Deakins, who had gone home empty-handed after eight previous nominations, was considered its best chance to win an Oscar.

His loss to Wally Pfister, who also won the American Society of Cinematographers award for "Inception," was one of a handful of small surprises in an Oscar ceremony that would have made Vegas oddsmakers proud, with the favorites winning in every major category.

Fourteen-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, who won several critics' group prizes for her role as the young spitfire at the center of "True Grit," was also considered a dark horse for supporting actress.

With no shockers found in the envelopes, surprises at the 83rd Academy Awards were more likely to come out of the mouths of people on stage. Although Melissa Leo's supporting actress win for "The Fighter" was widely expected, presenter Kirk Douglas' series of jokes that kept the nominees waiting to learn who won and Leo's use of the f-bomb in her acceptance speech may have been the only truly surprising moments of the night.

One more could have come in the documentary feature category if "Exit Through the Gift Shop" had prevailed — not only because winner "Inside Job" was favored by many in Hollywood but also because viewers around the world would have found out if the incognito street artist Banksy really did attend and, if so, what he looked like.

But it wasn't that kind of Oscar night.

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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