On this day: Oscars for the Coen Brothers

February 24 2007: No Country for Old Men sweeps awards


The American film duo look set to pick up some more trophies to add to their not-too-small collection at this year’s Oscars on Sunday.

They first picked up a coveted Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay) in 1996 for crime thriller Fargo and, 11 years later, were nominated eight times for No Country for Old Men. They won three awards for the film in the end, including the Best Picture Oscar.

Joel and Ethan Coen, 56 and 53 respectively have also won scores of other awards - Golden Globes, Baftas and so on – as well as endless box office success and critical praise. Their latest hit, Western drama True Grit, has been no exception.

From their Palme d’Or-winning 1991 film Barton Fink and the heist comedy The Ladykillers, to the Homer-inspired O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the pair have gone from strength to strength as writers, directors and producers. They are affectionately described by Hollywood insiders as “the two-headed director.

Known for their propensity to collaborate with the same actors on several occasions – the list includes George Clooney, Josh Brolin and Frances McDormand (Joel’s wife) – their work ranges from offbeat comedies like The Hudsucker Proxy to darker works like Blood Simple.

Born in Minnesota, both now live with their wives in New York. Their Jewish background has influenced their work – in 2009 Joel told the JC “We’re Jewish film-makers, for sure” – not least with that year’s bittersweet homage to barmitzvahs - A Serious Man.

What the JC said: Golden Globe winners Joel and Ethan Coen have made a gory chase movie that approaches the heights of Fargo…The combination of skilful and faithful adaptation of the novel by Cormac McCarthy, exemplary direction — technically it is near impossible to criticise the film — and faultless casting marks the brothers welcome return to form after the major disappointments of The Ladykillers’ and their facile screenplay for Irreconcilable Differences.

See more from the JC archives here..

Last updated: 9:46am, February 24 2011