Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld), Art Direction (Jess Gonchor), Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Directing (Joel and Ethan Coen), Costume Design (Mary Zophres), Sound Editing (Skip Livesay and Craig Berkey), Sound Mixing (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland), Adapted Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Matt Damon plays LaBoeuf, the talkative Texas Ranger who rides with Cogburn and Mattie on the trail of Tom Chaney and the gang of outlaws he’s with. Damon is a leading man in his own right but he’s also a character actor who takes pride in losing himself in a role.
“We had seen Matt in The Departed and it was one of those kinds of roles where he was playing a character that wasn’t the classic The Green Zone character he does so well,” says Joel. “He wasn’t the leading man or Bourne Identity guy.
“He’s a guy that we’ve wanted to work with for a long time because he’s great, a very interesting actor. I think Ethan suggested him first of all, very early on.”
Brolin had worked with the Coen Brothers before, on their Oscar winning drama No Country For Old Men. “Once we thought of Jeff for Rooster we couldn’t think of anybody else because he was so perfect. And Matt was the same,” says Ethan.
Matt: "I have a lot of friends who have worked with them - George, Brad, Billy Bob. I went to visit Billy a few times [on the set of The Man Who Wasn't There] and you talk to crew members, guys like Roger (Deakins), and they all say, 'You really should work with Joel and Ethan, you would love them'."
Damon had never worked with Jeff Bridges before, although, as he recalls, he did get the chance to read with him some 15 years ago.
"I knew Jeff's work, obviously, and was a big, big, fan. I reminded him that I'd once auditioned with him. He was reading for potential sidekicks for the movie Wild Bill and I had worked with (director) Walter Hill, and so I got to come in and read with Jeff Bridges, which was great.
"He was very nice to me. He, of course, didn't remember because he's probably read with 100 guys but that was my one Jeff Bridges encounter. So it was great to work with Jeff and to see him in action.
"I feel like a lot of actors approach their work out of a place of darkness, and I think that's a very effective way to do it and a lot of great performances have been created that way, but I think there are other actors who come predominantly out of a place of joy, and that to me is Jeff. The environment is just joyful when he's working - we had a lot of fun and I laughed a lot."