These days, you really can't begin to accurately prognosticate the Oscars until the Coen brothers weigh in. And weigh in they have. Paramount has just debuted unleashed the teaser trailer for 'True Grit,' and in doing so has thrust this fall's biggest unknown quantity into center stage in a big bad way. Joel and Ethan Coen - more than twenty years of defining American cinema - are still at the top of their game, and as blissfully prolific as ever. They followed their Best Picture-winning 'No Country For Old Men' with the tight and silly trifle 'Burn After Reading' and the masterful niche morality play 'A Serious Man,' but with 'True Grit' - their spin on Charles Portis' celebrated 1968 novel - it looks like the sibling auteurs are itching to fill that mocking bit of extra space on their mantels.

Portis' novel was already adapted by Henry Hathaway in 1969, but if this predictably awesome trailer is indication that it looks as if the Coen brothers have taken some familiar material and made it their own. The clip introduces adorable little Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and the beginnings of her less adorable quest to avenge her father's death, and we get a glimpse of her enlisting local alcoholic Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to aid her on the bloodthirsty mission. Bridges kinda looks like he rolled in from the 'Crazy Heart' wrap party and was slapped with an eyepatch and a top-hat, but the trailer leaves its dicey opening moments in the dust by resolving itself into a flurry of images that should stoke the hype well into the new year. Mattie and Rooster's adventure looks as action-packed as it does meticulously framed, and the teaser bounces between their travails across the iconography of the American Western (as filmed by cinematographer / minor deity Roger Deakins) and shots of Matt Damon taking aim with an old-fashioned sniper rifle. And just in case you didn't go to the movies this weekend and forgot what it looks like when Josh Brolin gets all surly, the teaser gives you some of that, as well.

We all knew that 'True Grit' was coming, but now it can't get here soon enough. Check out the trailer after the jump, or over on Apple, then let us know what you think.
True Grit Movie Poster
True Grit
Based on 41 critics

After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie... Read More