Bridges is enormously overdue for Oscar love. He's considered by many to be one of the great American actors but it's easy to understand why he hasn't ever come close to winning the big one. He's effortless onscreen or appears to be which amounts to the same thing. Other actors huff and puff away to achieve greatness but Bridges just seems to stroll right up to it, casually running his fingers through his hair. While this doesn't make his work any less than wonderful it does make it more invisible when it comes time for the industry back-patting. We saw this recently with The Door in the Floor in which he was just superb as a selfish womanizing author (my vote for Best Actor of 2004). He received not one nomination for his work... only a career tribute trophy from the National Board of Review.
Awards voters want to see actors huffing and puffing towards greatness. Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Sean Penn and Daniel Day-Lewis, the most recent lead acting winners, are fine examples of how much sturm und drang voters typically expect to see and want to reward. Whether or not one thinks they individually achieved greatness in their respective performances one can't really argue that they weren't all obviously striving for it. When it comes to Oscar,
never always let them see you sweat.
Here's Bridges filming a Crazy Heart scene onstage with Colin Farrell.
I love that he's doing his own singing. And provided the performance is as good as its backers are saying "performance of a lifetime" (It might be true but they have to gush... it's part of the job) it'd be especially gratifying to see Bridges honored for a musical performance. It'd be a nice way for us all to collectively pretend that his excellent work on The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) is finally being recognized twenty years after the fact.
And though I know you know where I'm going with this I have to go there anyway. It's completely insane that Michelle Pfeiffer and Bridges never worked together again after that piece of magic in 1989. They're obviously still fond of each other: Pfeiffer referenced his greatness, unprompted, at the press day for Chéri (she wasn't even talking about Baker Boys) and Bridges showed up for her star unveiling for the Walk of Fame in 2007. Yet an onscreen reunion never happened. That's poor career planning on the part of the actors and/or their management. It's their loss and ours.
Electric chemistry in the movies is so tricky to find, one wonders why we don't see more regular pairings of actors who've already proved that they have it (outside of franchises I mean, where they're locked into it contractually). For every Maggie Cheung & Tony Leung Chiu Wai out there who have captured their paired lightning in a bottle multiple times, there are screen couples like Pfeiffer & Bridge, Sarandon & Davis and Spacey & Bening who have not or screen couples like Emma Thompson & Anthony Hopkins (sensationally good together both times) or Douglas & Turner that gave up too soon. What gives?