Jeff Bridges received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Duane Jackson in The Last Picture Show.
It is than hard for Bridges to really a distinct characterization since Duane is constantly changing his attitudes, and ideas. Bridges actually though does have his usual charm he has in his roles but too a far far lesser degree than say in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. It is still apparent but it can only do so far really, and I can't say even Bridges manages to make Duane likable, even though he does try.
Duane goes through a lot of phases in the film but mostly he just acts as a fairly shallow young man in his shallow relationship. Bridges in turn is properly shallow as Duane, and is most certainly realistic in showing his confusion as well as his shallow wants in his relationship. Bridges is entirely accurate but I'm hard pressed to honestly say I found his performance especially compelling.
I don't want to say he is ever bad though that is most certainly sure. He stays realistic throughout the ever changing Duane, from when he is impudent or later in his scenes where he ends up being cruel after being dumped by Jacy. To even his last scene where he shows Duane having any sort of understanding.
They are all part of Duane almost random journey that is fitting of inexperience youth, which Bridges does realize, I just must admit I never felt myself Duane become all that interesting or affecting in the film despite Bridges' efforts. I know there are many who love this performance, but I personally cannot see it more than just simply a good realistic performance.