This year’s Academy Award night (Sunday, Feb. 27th) will be filled with glitz, glamour and once again the involvement of two familiar Minnesota natives, Joel and Ethan Coen. Originally from St. Louis Park, MN., these two brothers have become quite the main-stay at the annual Oscar celebration. With earlier works such as No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers and A Serious Man receiving much national acclaim, they could soon find a need to make more room on their ever-growing trophy shelves because of their latest film, True Grit. Receiving 10 nominations including Directing, Best Picture, Cinematography and Actor in a Leading Role, this film received the second most nominations following only The King’s Speech as the highest nominated film.
Joel, born on Nov. 29th 1954 and brother Ethan who followed three years later, were both raised in the St. Louis Park community by parents with prestigious academic backgrounds. Father Edward was an economic professor at the University of Minnesota and mother Rena, an art history professor at St. Cloud State. By mowing lawns throughout the community the brothers managed to save up enough money to buy a Super-8 camera and the rest, as they say, is history.
With numerous major accomplishments already achieved throughout the movie industry, it’s surprising for many to learn this film is by far the Coen’s most successful to date. Grossing over $160 million at the U.S. box office True Grit has already accumulated well over double the box office gross of any of their previous films. As popular as the Western genre is and always has been, it’s also surprising to discover this record breaking film is the highest grossing western of all time and only the fourth western in history to gross over $100 million at the U.S. box office. However, theatrical success does not necessarily transfer to Oscar gold. Over the last few years such films as “The Hurt Locker” and “Slumdog Millionaire” have taken home the biggest awards while having very limited theatrical success.
An instant classic, for those of you that haven’t had a chance to see this phenomenal film starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, get to theaters asap. It’s still playing now but with many big theatrical releases coming soon, it won’t be for much longer. The DVD release isn’t anticipated until around the end of April or early May so now is your chance to see the film everyone will be and has been talking about.
Many Minnesotan’s will be routing for this film on Oscar night and hopefully all of our well-wishes will once again bring these well deserving Minnesota natives Oscar gold.