Ethan Coen Biography

Ethan Coen photo

Born: September 21, 1957


Date of Birth: September 21, 1957

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ethan Coen and his brother Joel bought a Super 8 camera when they were children and began remaking movies they'd seen on television. After high school, the brothers graduated from Bard College in Massachusetts. Ethan then attended Princeton University, earning an undergraduate degree in philosophy. He then moved to New York to join Joel and they began writing screenplays together.

Seeing other independent moviemakers putting their own picture deals together, the Coen brothers decided to go out on their own and find financing for a script they had written entitled Blood Simple (1984). They found the money, cast the parts and headed to Austin, Texas to film their movie.

The two made waves with the low-budget film, a taut bit of film noir that wowed its audiences. Besides landing some of the top ten lists including Time Magazine, The Washington Post and USA Today, Blood Simple (1984) received numerous award nominations such as the Edgar Allen Poe Award and an Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay.

With their next project the brothers established themselves as cult heroes with Raising Arizona (1987), an offbeat but consistently funny kidnapping story.

In 1997, the brothers received their first Academy Award nominations, for their Fargo (1996) screenplay, for editing the film and for Best Picture. They won in the Best Screenplay category. Their O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) screenplay was nominated in 2001, but they didn't win. In 2008, they again received multiple nominations, this time for No Country For Old Men. The movie won Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Screenplay and Best Achievement in Directing.

In 2010, the brothers once again received multiple nominations for A Single Man, but didn't take home any trophies. The following year, in 2011, their movie True Grit received 10 nominations in total, including Best Picture and Best Achievement in Directing.

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