Coen brothers' Oscars seal Hollywood's approval

Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:46am EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's establishment embraced two of the film industry's quintessential outsiders on Sunday as brothers Joel and Ethan Coen won Oscars for their work directing and producing the grim crime drama "No Country For Old Men."

The Coen brothers, who also clinched an Oscar for their adapted screenplay, become only the second pair of filmmakers to jointly win the Academy Award for best directing, following in the footsteps of Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for the 1961 musical "West Side Story."

The Coens shared the Oscar for best picture with their producing partner on the film, Scott Rudin.

The Coens -- Joel, 53, and Ethan, 50 -- were considered clear Oscar favorites after sweeping the 2007 film honors of Hollywood's major talent guilds, including the Directors Guild of America. They got their first taste of Oscar glory 11 years ago with a win for their original screenplay for "Fargo."

But Sunday's Academy Award triumph represents the ultimate seal of Hollywood appreciation for the two auteurs, who have built their career and a loyal cult following as fiercely independent filmmakers.

"Ethan and I have been making stories with movie cameras since we were kids," Joel Coen said in accepting their directing Oscar, recalling an amateur film they made in the late 1960s called "Henry Kissinger, Man on the Go," starring his younger brother in a suit with a briefcase.

"Honestly, what we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then," he said.

"No Country" marks both a departure -- their first film based entirely on a novel -- and a return to form for the Coens with its tale of highly idiosyncratic characters caught up in events unleashed by nefarious plans gone horribly wrong.   Continued...

<p>Ethan (L) and Joel Coen (C) accept the Oscar for best directing for "No Country For Old Men" from director Martin Scorsese during the 80th annual Academy Awards, the Oscars, in Hollywood February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>