Bradley Cooper has become one of the most well known and respected figures in Hollywood. Whether he is acting, directing, writing, or producing, like King Midas himself, everything Cooper touches turns into gold. Over the course of Bradley Cooper’s illustrious career, he has starred in the highest grossing war movie of all time (American Sniper), had a voice role in the highest grossing franchise of all-time, produced the all-time highest grossing R rated film, and has been nominated for 8 Oscars in the process.
Cooper in the last 10 years has had the kind of good fortune that actors only dream of having once. He has become a consistent staple of Hollywood, and has proven himself as one of the best actors in Hollywood. It’s kind of crazy to look back on these past 10 years of Coopers career and remember what he was up to even just before 2009.
Before 2009, Cooper was known best for his role as the main antagonist, Sack Lodge, in Wedding Crashers. He was a character actor primarily in comedies, and that was the role that fit him best. Then with 2009’s The Hangover, Cooper was finally given the chance to shine as a leading man – still in a comedy – and proved he could at least carry a film if needed.
After starring in such a successful comedy, Cooper found his niche and, for a few years, would make a career out of those kinds of films. He followed up his work in The Hangover with the mostly panned remake of The A-Team, the highly meemed Limitless, and then with The Hangover II.
But in 2012, he starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper didn’t do anything different than what he was used to in this film – honestly he was just playing a more dramatic and unhinged version of his Wedding Crashers character – but he was able to capture the eyes of the Academy and picked up his first Oscar nomination for Actor in a Leading Role.
Cooper then followed that up with 7 more nominations over the next 7 years. He was nominated in Best Supporting Actor for American Hustle, Best Actor and Best Picture for American Sniper, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture for A Star is Born, and finally Best Picture for Joker.
This year, Bradley Cooper has two good chances at breaking into the Oscars race. The first of those is Guillermo del Toro’s latest film Nightmare Alley. In Nightmare Alley, Cooper plays Stanton ‘Stan’ Carlisle, an ambitious carney with a knack for manipulating people. This film is based on the 1946 Novel by William Lindsay Gresham.
In Nightmare Alley, Cooper will be playing the films lead among a stacked ensemble cast including: Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, and more. Many, including myself, think that Cooper might be strong enough for a nomination, but there might be other people in the running who have a better chance at winning this award. Cooper has been nominated for Actor in a Leading role 3 times for Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper, and A Star is Born.
His other opportunity, and potentially the more likely of the two, comes in the form of Paul Thomas Anderson’s newest film Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza is a love story between a teenage actor and a young woman in 1970s San Fernando Valley – the location of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.
The first trailer for Licorice Pizza confirmed that Cooper would be playing film producer Jon Peters; Peters produced the 1976 A Star is Born starring his at the time girlfriend Barbara StreiSAND. In the trailer, Cooper looks… really good, commanding every moment he is on screen. There have been rumors that Cooper’s role might be small in relation to the film as a whole, but if the set photos and trailer tell us anything, it’s that he might be able to do enough with a little to win him his first Oscar.
No matter what, we can all agree that Bradley Cooper is overdue. He should have won for A Star is Born, but I won’t go too in depth on that. He has a really good chance of picking up his 9th, and a chance of even getting his 10th nomination this year. If he doesn’t win this year, I guess Cooper can look to next year where he is writing, directing, and starring in the Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro. And if that’s not it, he also has a World War II movie coming up directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Way Back).
Either way, Cooper will have his chances coming up, and his time to shine will ultimately come. I just hope it comes sooner rather than later.
Jacob is a Graduate of Western Kentucky University where he earned a History/Film Studies Degree. He is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is also a member of the North American Film Critics Association and the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.