Jeff Bridges received his sixth Oscar nomination for portraying Reuben "Rooster" J. Cogburn in True Grit.
Jeff Bridges is the second person to be nominated to play the one eyed Rooster, John Wayne won his Oscar for the same role. Wayne oddly portrayed the part with the mannerisms of Wallace Beery, and Bridges also portrays the part with different mannerisms from his usual performance, portraying them with an accent, and quite the slurred speech.
As with Wayne these mannerisms do not really work all to well for the part, and frankly just seem odd, I think though that these mannerisms are even more distracting that Wayne's were. The whole speech pattern really seems unneeded in the performance. It is a very obvious actory thing to do in the role to attempt to stand out, but frankly the whole portrayal because this seems off.
Jeff Bridges because of this way of portraying Rooster basically ruins any chance of a great performance. All of these mannerisms just failed to work for me, and just felt distracting all of the time, and I really did not think that they achieved making Rooster even all that unique, or original of creation either, I honestly preferred the way Wayne portrayed him.
The mannerisms actually would not be as bad, but he is rather inconsistent with them. At times, and I mean random times, his speech is thicker than at other times, therefore making these mannerisms that were already a bad idea even worse, because they are not even consistent bad mannerisms.
I think one other problem is that Bridges fails to really have a grasp on the western dialect on the film, which is a common problem in the film, since few of the actors seem all that natural with the dialect, basically out of the main players Barry Pepper seems to be the one who is the best grasp on it. Much of what Bridges says is unnatural sounding because of this further adding to the overall lacking quality of his performance.
In terms of the emotions of the character, I really felt Bridges’ performance was lacking as well. Rooster tells much of his back story in the 1969 version in one scene, in this version though Bridges constantly tells it as they ride along, and the way Bridges handled the entire thing seems odd, because Bridges puts so little emotion behind the words that made me question why Rooster was even telling any of this to Mattie.
There is nothing that Bridges does with the character of Rooster, that really works. His alcoholism, felt more just like a mannerisms, I also felt there is nothing special that he does with his relationship with Mattie, because of the lack of emotion Bridges has in so many scenes, and line readings. I think frankly I should like this performance even less than I do. I certianly it is not good, but I guess he does still have certain screen presence, but that is all I really can say positive about this performance.