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Jeff Bridges career is having a revival of sorts, having been nominated for the Academy Award the last two years (Crazy Heart and True Grit). 

He was previously nominated for the Academy Award (almost always in a supporting role) several times over a thirty  year period (including for his role as the alien in the 1984 film Starman, which I simply cannot believe), but he has never received the kind of recognition or acclaim that has recently been bestowed upon him. 

It leads me to wonder:

Has Jeff Bridges developed into a better actor over the years and is being rightfully acknowledged for his newfound skill?

Or was the younger version of Jeff Bridges just as skilled an actor as this older Jeff Bridges but could not compete against the younger, better looking Hollywood stars such as Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro and others.

Perhaps Academy Award winning roles such as Rooster Cogburn and Bad Blake were simply not available to the younger Jeff Bridges with the likes of Henry Fonda and Paul Newman running around, and it has only been in his older age that he has been able to steal these roles from his younger, better looking counterparts.