Can Jeff Bridges win back-to-back Oscars?

Truegrit_boffo Saddle up Hollywood, Oscar speculation has begun.

Last week, Deadline wrote an interesting story about Zoomis Racape and how her reps were launching a Best Actress campaign for “The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo” thesp ( the original, Swedish Lisbeth.) But while an Oscar for “The Girl” is very much a long shot (Tilda Swinton has my vote) a more likely and perhaps bigger story is one that involves ‘The Dude’ a.k.a. Jeff Bridges.

On Christmas Day, Paramount will release the Coen brothers’ remake of “True Grit,” the Oscar-winning duo’s redo of the 1969 Western starring John Wayne. Bridges (above) plays one-eyed U.S. marshall Rooster Cogburn in the film, the same role that earned The Duke a Best Actor win.

While the film itself is still in post-production, Academy voters are going to keep a close eye on TG. After all, the Coen brothers, who have won Best Picture twice in the past twelve years, have a much stronger chance of getting attention than a movie “Crazy Heart,” the film Bridges won an Oscar for last year but had to literally claw its way out of a straight-to-DVD release.

Produced by Scott Rudin and Steven Spielberg, “True Grit” tells the story of an aging U.S. marshall (Bridges) who helps a young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) track down her father’s murderer. Matt Damon rounds out the cast.

“The Duke would be proud,” one source says of Bridges’ take on “True Grit.” “Damon is great too and I wouldn’t be surprised if they both get nominated, Damon for supporting.”

Hanksoscar_boffo A consecutive Best Actor trophy for Bridges would make him only the third thesp in history to accomplish the back-to-back feat. Spencer Tracy was the first. He won consecutive Oscars for “Captains Courageous” (1937) and “Boys Town” (1938). Tom Hanks then followed in 1993 and ’94 with his performances in “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.”

But while The Dude would love to mimick the likes of Tracy and Hanks, a Bridges’ win, let alone a nomination, won’t come easy.

Early buzz has several actors on Oscar’s initial radar including Javier Bardem (“Biutiful”), Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”), James Franco (“127 Hours”), Mark Wahlberg (“The Fighter”), Robert Duvall (“Get Low”) and Brad Pitt for “The Tree of Life” (if we ever see it).

True–the awards season doesn’t officially begin until Fall but major festivals like Toronto and Venice are right around the corner, so get ready Oscar chatterbugs. Or, as Rooster Cogburn would say, “a gun that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothin’.”

“True Grit” opens December 25.

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