A poster is out for Crazy Heart, the redemptive country/western music drama that many critics have laid eyes on over the last few weeks and the momentum is building that it could be Oscar worthy material for Jeff Bridges.
Originally planned for a spring 2010 release from Fox Searchlight, the movie has been thrust into a Dec. 16th limited U.S. run and Crazy Heart is well and truly in the Oscar race after Amelia crashed and burned and isn't the awards banker the studio had hoped.
Panic set in asLittle Miss Sunshine (06), Juno (07) and Slumdog Millionaire (08) had set an awards expectation at Searchlight. They scrambled to see what they had on their slate for next year that was ready to go and found this little talked about and likely to be quietly released Jeff Bridges movie, took a chance with it and gave a few critics a screening and BAM, the movie is in contention and out next month.
Quite incredible, really. And it's the kind of unlikely awards story that only helps it's cause.
Gyllenhaal (right), is also getting a fair bit of buzz for a Supporting Actress Nod. She turned 32 today, and it would be her first.
Crazy Heart, the directorial debut of Scott Cooper, finds Bridges as an ex-country singer/songwriting legend Bad Blake who is on the brink of losing everything to drink, cigarettes and a lack of passion to play music before a new relationship sparks with a much younger, clear-minded, single mum journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The film is adapted from a Thomas Cobb novel.
Bridges' honest performance (he sings his own songs in the movie too) is drawing comparison's to a similar themed 1983 picture Tender Mercies, which won Robert Duvall an Oscar and who also probably uncoincidentally supports in this movie, along with Colin Farrell.
Looking a little like the cover of a late Bob Dylan album, Fox Searchlight are using the same kind of colour scheme, and pose to showcase Bridges as they did for Mickey Rourke and The Wrestler last year. They are certainly hoping lightening will strike twice and that Bridges will go on step further than Rourke, who lost out to Sean Penn for the Best Actor nod last year.
Love the tagline: "The Harder the Life, The Sweeter The Song".
Although I'm not one for sentimentalism (I wrote and wrote and wrote last year that Penn should have won last year because he put in the best performance of the year and NOT Rourke, who probably deserves an Oscar for his triumphant comeback, but that's not how it works), I am delighted to see that Bridges is in with a shout this year because he really has been Hollywood's most consistently great performer, in a variety of roles, for way longer than I've been alive.
He's been nominated four times (3 supporting, 1 best actor), the first a whopping 38 years ago with The Last Picture Show in 1971.
His only Best Actor nod so far came in John Carpenter's mid 80's sci-fi adventure fantasy Starman, an incredible feat in itself considering the genre. That strictly just wouldn't happen these days.
It's been a long time coming but the world is better for Bridges being up and around there.
Trailer arrives later today and will be added to this post. Watch for the UPDATED message.