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When A Star Is Born was first screened, audiences couldn’t stop raving about Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. "Oscar frontrunner" was being thrown around left and right. As award season has played out, it has certainly been in conversation among the best films of the year, but it’s no longer expected to sweep the night, as other contenders have dominated.
When Oscar nominations were announced, A Star Is Born was recognized in eight categories, but Bradley Cooper’s name was notably missing from the Best Director short list. Actor Sean Penn has now penned an essay with Deadline to explain why he thinks A Star Is Born is being snubbed and how that's a problem. Here’s how he put it, in part:
....It has been so long since we have been able to equate a success or a love story with high art or artists that we may well have forgotten how. And now, with A Star Is Born’s eight nominations for Academy Awards, the problem is likely to be exposed. “Bradley is a star.” “He’s young… he’ll have plenty of opportunities.” If this, as I suspect, explains outcomes in other awards voting, voters will have certainly missed the point. This isn’t Bradley Cooper’s opportunity, it’s theirs to appreciate the depth and value of this film before its legacy outlasts their chance to participate in it.
Per Sean Penn’s words, it looks like Bradley Cooper may be getting overlooked because he’s regarded as a young talent and a “star” perhaps with more work on the horizon. As Penn notes, not recognizing Cooper for the accomplishment of A Star Is Born due to this doesn’t do justice to what he achieved with the musical drama starring himself and Lady Gaga.
In his essay, Sean Penn continued by pointing out the strengths of A Star Is Born, expressing how the love story is about the “flawed contemporary characters we are” and doesn’t pander to the politics of today -- perhaps referencing fellow Best Picture nominees Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman. He also continued with these words:
In a fair world, A Star Is Born sweeps the awards. It’s just such a gift. Clear minds and hearts cannot possibly deny it its due. [...] To spare myself potential disappointment, I’m raising a glass in advance to Bradley Cooper and A Star Is Born. Surely a raised glass is as legitimate as a globe of gilded gold or a male statuette minus a penis (also gold gilded). God forbid it have balls this year! A Star Is Born is simply everything that movies should be. If we honor anything, this should be it.
Sean Penn likely penned this in hopes of elevating A Star Is Born’s chances at some golden trophies following Bradley Cooper’s snub for Best Director -- among other overlooked films of 2018 such as Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk, Won’t You Be My Neighbor and First Reformed.
A Star Is Born was no question a massive undertaking for Bradley Cooper. He co-wrote the script, starred in the film, and sang original songs live – some of which he helped write -- and he directed the film. For the actor to receive nods for his work as actor, screenplay, etc. but not for helming it all doesn’t make much sense, does it?
Bradley Cooper did break records on the BAFTA nominee list for being the first to be simultaneously be nominated for actor, director, screenwriter, composer and producer. We’ll see how he does when the BAFTA awards will be taking place this Sunday, February 10.
After that, Bradley Cooper’s movie will take on the Oscars -- alongside other contenders including Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma and Vice. He will reportedly be performing “Shallow” live with Lady Gaga at the show on February 24 on ABC.