Tom Waits-Starring ‘Ballad of Buster Scruggs' Up for 3 Oscars

"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," starring onetime San Diegan Tom Waits, is up for three Oscars

Go ahead and 'clap hands': On Tuesday morning, the 2019 Academy Award nominations were officially announced and the Tom Waits-starring Western film, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," found itself on the receiving end of three nods for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Costume Design.

Directed by the Coen Brothers, the Oscar-winning duo comprised of Joel and Ethan Coen, the 2018 Netflix anthology vehicle puts Waits -- the sandpaper-voiced singer-songwriter who grew up in National City and famously got his start performing in San Diego clubs -- front and center in his own chapter titled "All Gold Canyon" (which is based off the 1904 Jack London story of the same name).

It's the first film in decades where the gruff troubadour (portraying a nameless prospector) takes the starring lead -- and one that's earned him critical acclaim.

In a glowing review, The Ringer's Karen Han wrote: "The role -- perhaps his most resolutely normal to date -- is surprising in the same way it is when Waits sings in a higher register ('House Where Nobody Lives') as opposed to in his usual bass ('Little Drop of Poison'), and that range helps pull together a collective image of Waits’s creative output. Everything he does seems to act as an extension of him, taking preexisting Waitsian qualities -- his voice, his appearance -- and transposing them into different keys as the art demands."

With Tuesday's Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, the Coen Brothers now have seven screenwriting Oscar nods between them, while "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings," written and performed by revered Americana singer-songwriters Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, earned the duo their first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Best of luck to Waits, the Coen Brothers, Welch, Rawlings and the rest of the "Buster Scruggs" crew at the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24!

Contact Us