Jeff Bridges Talks to Movieline About Oscar Anticipation, Classic Directors, and Free Subarus
At last night's chilly Los Angeles premiere of Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges's ebullience was apparent and for good reason: The 60-year-old actor will almost certainly earn his fifth Oscar nomination for his role as Bad Blake, an alcoholic country musician who regains purpose after falling for a young journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal). For a man who was first nominated in 1971 for The Last Picture Show, the buzzy premiere reminded Bridges of his father's sage Oscar advice and the first director who guided him to gold.
Thirty-eight years later, Bridges recalls how his father Lloyd gave him practical advice just before his first trip to the ceremony.
"My father, during my first Oscar nomination, my father came up to me -- and I was quite anxious," Bridges said to Movieline. "He said, 'Jeff, may I talk to you in private?' And I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'I want you to know that if you ride to the Oscars, a whole family in a Subaru, that they'll give you the Subaru free.' So I said, 'OK. I will do that. But I'm going to tape the entire thing with a video camera.' So we got in the Subaru, and it was like clowns, you know, getting out of a car. I taped the whole thing. God knows where that thing is, but that memory will always be stuck in my head."
All the attention for his newest portrayal is a good thing, Bridges said -- mostly.
"There's a little anxiety in there, you know," he confessed. "But it's also really exciting, and if that nomination happens, there's nothing like getting an 'atta boy' from the guys who do what you do. That's wonderful."
Bridges remains in contact with the first man to guide him to an Academy nod -- Last Picture Show director Peter Bogdanovich. Crazy Heart filmmaker Scott Cooper got to the meet the legend thanks to Bridges's connection, and Bridges says their introduction was surreal for the young filmmaker.
"I ran into Scott at a party the other day, and Peter was there," Bridges said. "Peter came up to me, and he saw the movie and went on and on about how well the movie was directed. So I got to introduce Scott to Peter, and Scott got all of that love shot at him. And he was beside himself. I think it's the directors of the '70s, like Peter, that he aspires to. So it was a wonderful validation for him, I think."
[Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images]