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What The Cast Of No Country For Old Men Is Doing Today

As a consensus vote taken among thousands of industry insiders, the Academy Award for Best Picture inevitably tends to leave lots of people disappointed. It's almost a cliché to say that the "Best Picture" of a given year ended up being something other than the actual best picture. Still, throughout history, there have been instances of the Academy giving its highest honor to movies that felt like the rightful winners: "Casablanca," "West Side Story," "The Godfather," "Amadeus." And, more recently, one such movie was "No Country for Old Men."

Joel and Ethan Coen's 2007 neo-western-slash-crime-thriller still registers, even today, as a downright unusual choice for the Oscars' top prize. It's a bleak, dreary, near-hopeless movie, with full ambiguity and anguish — the kind that the populist-skewing Academy tends to balk at. And yet, few will deny that "No Country for Old Men" is a rare example of an integrally worthy winner due to its emotional impact. It's a masterpiece that feels as fresh and gripping now as it did upon its release 14 years ago, to the point where it's hard to believe that it's already been all of 14 years.

In that time, the world has changed dramatically, and the landscape of cinema has changed with it. The subsequent trajectories of the four main cast members of "No Country for Old Men" reflect those changes in a lot of ways. Read on to find out what they're doing today.

Tommy Lee Jones enjoyed a career resurgence

One of the three main characters of "No Country for Old Men" is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, the investigator in charge of the case, played by Tommy Lee Jones. After enjoying a period of great ubiquity in the '80s and '90s, Jones embarked on a late-career renaissance from 2007 onward, bolstered in large part by the success of "No Country ..." Throughout the 2010s, he continued to hold his post as a dependably enriching presence in adult dramas, with such credits as "Lincoln" and "The Company Men." At the same time, he established personal mythology with his typecasting as surly authority figures in action blockbusters, a role he fulfilled in "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Jason Bourne" in addition to his reprise of Agent K in "Men in Black 3." That mythology culminated in 2019's "Ad Astra" (pictured above), a Brad Pitt-starring space drama in which Jones played the universe's coldest father and meanest spaceship commander.

After "Ad Astra," Jones appeared in two more films that premiered in 2020: "The Comeback Trail" and "Wander." "Wander," released December 4 in the U.S., is a conspiracy thriller starring Aaron Eckhart as Arthur Bretnik, a paranoid private eye looking into a mysterious murder. Jones plays Jimmy Cleats, a longtime conspiracy theorist who co-hosts a late-night podcast with Arthur and becomes his sidekick in the investigation. "The Comeback Trail," meanwhile, is a star-studded comedy slated for a 2021 commercial release (via Screen Rant), in which Jones plays a faded Western star who unwittingly becomes a pawn in a desperate movie producer's (played by Robert De Niro) insurance scam. Both roles reveal more of his underappreciated comedic side.

Josh Brolin played everyone from Thanos to Bigfoot

One of the stars of 1985's "The Goonies," Josh Brolin was regarded as a relatively faded former child star up until a quartet of 2007 films — "No Country for Old Men," "In the Valley of Elah," "Planet Terror," and "American Gangster" — thrust him right back into the national spotlight. Since then, Brolin has become one of Hollywood's most prolific actors, with lead roles in movies from such A-list directors as Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Denis Villeneuve, Jason Reitman, and once again, the Coen brothers. He earned multiple awards for his roles as Dan White, the politician who assassinated Harvey Milk, in Gus van Sant's "Milk," and as eccentric LAPD detective Christian "Bigfoot" Bjornsen in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice."

In addition to his more artistic-minded work, Brolin also made his mark as arguably the 2010s' most notorious movie villain — the Dark Lord himself, Thanos. Brolin was the de-facto protagonist of "Avengers: Infinity War" (pictured above), somehow not only living up to but exceeding the expectations set by a decade's worth of buildup in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and brought the very same gusto to his send-off in "Avengers: Endgame." As a result of that blockbuster eminence, together with his performance as Cable in "Deadpool 2," Brolin has ushered in a new career era as a fixture of big-budget cinema. That era is set to be compounded even further by his upcoming role in "Dune," which will see him play Gurney Halleck, the Weapons Master of the House Atreides.

Javier Bardem has remained a star in both the U.S. and Europe

The best-remembered performance in "No Country for Old Men" is that of Javier Bardem as the terrifying Anton Chigurh. Since winning an Oscar for the role, Bardem has remained a major star in both the U.S. and his native Spain.

In Hollywood, Bardem followed up "No Country ..." with another memorable villain turn, this time on an even bigger stage, as Raoul Silva on "Skyfall" — a performance that once again earned him multiple awards and nominations. Additionally, he has collaborated with directors like Terrence Malick and Ridley Scott, often giving himself wholly to highly controversial auteurist visions, as he did most recently in Darren Aronofsky's "mother!"

In Spain, meanwhile, Bardem continued to build on an already well-established career, earning a third Oscar nomination for "Biutiful" and partnering up again with his longtime director Fernando León de Aranoa for the Pablo Escobar biopic "Loving Pablo." Bardem and de Aranoa are working together again on "The Good Boss," a satirical comedy that began filming last October (via Variety). Bardem has also branched out to the rest of Europe, starring in British filmmaker Sally Potter's Golden Bear-nominated "The Roads Not Taken" (pictured above).

Fans of his Hollywood work can expect to see him this year in "Dune" as Fremen leader Stilgar, but that's not all Bardem has in store. He has also been cast as King Triton in Disney's upcoming live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid," and as Desi Arnaz in Aaron Sorkin's Lucille Ball biopic "Being the Ricardos" — a casting choice that spurred controversy, per Remezcla. This will be yet another instance, following "Eat Pray Love" and "Loving Pablo," of Bardem, a white European, playing a Latin American character.

Kelly Macdonald continues to deliver as an underrated character actress

The main cast of "No Country for Old Men" was rounded out by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald as Carla Jean Moss, the wife of protagonist Llewelyn Moss (Brolin). Carla Jean is the only character who actually stands up to Anton Chigurh, and her participation ranks among the movie's deftest notes of unexpected exuberance. Yet, echoing the criminal lack of recognition for Macdonald's performance during that award season, she has since made her name as one of the most continually underrated character actresses working.

After getting the biggest box office receipts of her career in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2" as Helena Ravenclaw and in Pixar's "Brave" as the voice of Merida, Macdonald earned some mainstream acclaim, including Emmy, Golden Globe, and Critics' Choice Award nominations, for her turn as Margaret Thompson on "Boardwalk Empire." This visibility allowed her to keep getting consistent work in both the U.S. and the U.K., including a reprise of her breakthrough role, Diane Coulston, in 2017's "T2 Trainspotting." She was most recently seen as the lead in two romantic dramas — "Puzzle" opposite the late Irrfan Khan and "Dirt Music" opposite Garrett Hedlund — and as part of the main cast on two BBC Two shows, "Giri/Haji" and "Line of Duty."

All of those roles earned Macdonald typically glowing reviews, with The Detroit News' Adam Graham referring to her as "the great Kelly Macdonald," but very little in the way of the mainstream notoriety she deserves. Here's hoping her central role in the upcoming war drama "Operation Mincemeat" (via Deadline) finally changes that.