There are several things the film has going for it. The cast is definitely a good one. Tommy Lee Jones is a justified skilled actor. Woody Harrelson shows his serious side (which is actually good) in this film. Even the younger generation, namely Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald, are fantastic.
Comparing No Country for Old Men to the other nominees for the Oscars, I am not sure that the film deserved the clout it received. Best Picture and Best Screenplay obvious go in one package. A film doesn't earn one without the other and usually Best Director goes with it as well. The Coen brothers have no doubt produced some amazing successful films. Raising Arizona is one of my favorite films ever, and Fargo is also a good one. Also, O Brother Where Art Thou? and The Ladykillers, both by the Coen brothers, were filmed in Mississippi. No doubt they are talented, but this movie seems over analyzed by the Academy. They expect the best from these two, and it is hard to believe that they might not have produced the best film.
However, the film does deserve some recognition for the brilliant performance by Javier Bardem. The Coens' talent really shows in their casting. Where they found this man, I have no idea. He has mostly been in Spanish films, but his beginning in American film was Collateral. This is definitely his best performance yet. He is the perfect blend of blunt seriousness and horror. As the serial killer, everything about him is creepy. He absolutely deserved the Oscar.
The problem for me was that I did not understand the point of the movie. It granted no satisfaction. When it ended, I felt drained for nothing. I sat through two hours of nonstop suspense and violence only to be confused to the point of frustration.