If you’re disappointed that “A Star Is Born” hasn’t been the awards-season juggernaut that many expected, you’re not alone. Sean Penn has written a defense of the film in general and Bradley Cooper in particular, following the first-time filmmaker’s admission earlier this week that he “felt embarrassed” when he did not receive a Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards. (Cooper was nominated for Best Picture, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay, however.)
In his piece, Penn argues that Cooper having the appearance of success is actually working against him — that, because he’s “made the most successful contemporary love story of all time” and will continue to do great things, Academy voters are overlooking him.
“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,” Penn — himself a two-time Oscar winner — writes. “‘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.”
“A Star Is Born” is up for eight Oscars and won one of the five Golden Globes for which it was nominated. After being considered the frontrunner by many prognosticators as early as last August, however, its awards-season performance has been considered disappointing by some. With major precursor awards going to “Roma,” “Green Book,” and actors Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), the musical drama’s chances of winning any major prizes now look slim.
“In the end, the apples and oranges of film competition, and the inequity of advertising budgets has always left the Academy Awards with some inevitable aftertaste of the alcohol most of us have to drink to get through them,” Penn continues. “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!”
Read Penn’s full piece here.