We're breaking down all the Oscar contenders for you, so that you can decide whether you want to see them -- or at the very least, be able to hold your own at cocktail parties. Next up: 'True Grit,' the Coen brothers' gritty remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic.

Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld), Best Adapted Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Sound Mixing (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff & Peter F. Kurland), Best Sound Editing (Skip Lievsay & Craig Berkey), Best Costume Design (Mary Zophres), and Best Art Direction (Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh)
What It's About: 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) is determined to avenge the death of her father at the hands of one of his hired hands (Josh Brolin), so she hires the meanest U.S. Marshal she can find, "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). With the stubborn and occasionally ridiculous Texas ranger LeBeouf (Matt Damon), they set off into the dangerous Choctaw terrain. Along the way, the three avengers are set upon by outlaws, endure terrible weather and struggle to tolerate one another under increasingly difficult conditions.

Why You Should See It: Joel and Ethan Coen know how to make great movies, and 'True Grit' combines some of the best elements of both their comedies and their action-thrillers. The witty, antiquated language is delivered perfectly by the entire cast, with the result being one enormously entertaining joke after another.

Also, do not be fooled by Jeff Bridges' pot belly or Matt Damon's added flab, neither of which prevent the gun battles from being as thrilling and intense as any other on film. The shot of an old, worn-out drunk riding full gallop with the horse's reins in his mouth and two guns blazing is particularly impressive and memorable.

It's Kind Of Like: 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' meets 'Unforgiven.'

How You Can See It: In theaters now

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True Grit
Based on 41 critics

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categories Features, Oscars, Awards