2015 Oscars Scenarios #2: The Consecutive Case of Bradley Cooper

bradleycooper_americansniperAs we all know Bradley Cooper has been nominated for his stunning work in Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper” in Best Actor.  This marks Cooper’s third consecutive nomination.  He was previously nominated for David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.”  After missing out on Golden Globe, SAG, BFCA, and BAFTA nominations, Cooper muscled his way in at the expense of performers like Jake Gyllenhaal and David Oyelowo.  What some may not have noticed is that Cooper has joined a very elite list of male actors that have been nominated 3 or more times consecutively:

  1. Marlon Brando
    A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    Viva Zapata (1952)
    Julius Caesar (1953)
    On the Waterfront (1954) – WON
  2. Al Pacino
    The Godfather (1972)
    Serpico (1973)
    The Godfather Part II (1974)
    Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  3. Spencer Tracy
    San Francisco (1936)
    Captains Courageous (1937) – WON
    Boys Town (1938) – WON
  4. Gary Cooper
    Sergeant York (1941) – WON
    The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
    For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
  5. Gregory Peck
    The Keys of the Kingdom (1945)
    The Yearling (1946)
    Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
  6. Richard Burton
    Becket (1964)
    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  7. Jack Nicholson
    The Last Detail (1973)
    Chinatown (1974)
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – WON
  8. William Hurt
    Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) – WON
    Children of a Lesser God (1986)
    Broadcast News (1987)
  9. Russell Crowe
    The Insider (1999)
    Gladiator (2000) – WON
    A Beautiful Mind (2001)

On that list, only 3 out of 9 actors have lost all their awards in which they were nominated at the time of their consecutive run.  Pacino was on the hunt for decades until they gave him what can only be described as a consolation prize for “Scent of a Woman.”  Gregory Peck was striking out until he landed the role of a lifetime in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  And unfortunately, Richard Burton is the only person from the list to pass on without an Oscar in hand.  Oscar missed the mark on many great British actors from that same era that included Peter O’Toole and Albert Finney.  

Cooper has a distinction that he is the very first to achieve.  Along with his third consecutive acting nomination, he’s the only one of the bunch to also have another nomination in another category with a Producer’s credit for the same film.  Should that help him in the run to the podium?  Perhaps.  Much like last year when Leonardo DiCaprio scored his double nod for “The Wolf of Wall Street” as an actor and producer, no award show prior to the Academy Awards had him up against eventual winner Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”  History is heavily against the prospect of a Cooper win.  The last Best Actor winner to do so without a citation from a major precursor (Golden Globes, NYFCC, etc.) is William Holden in “Stalag 17” in 1953.  And those are the days without SAG, BFCA, and the other high-profile awards that we look to today.  The odds of him pulling off an upset are not good.  In all fairness, we currently seem to be in an age of the Oscars where the rule book is consistently thrown out as we’ve seen with wins by “Argo” and “12 Years a Slave.”

The Warner Bros. marketing team has done everything under the sun to keep “American Sniper” in the conversation and relevant.  Not to mention that haven’t needed to work to hard thanks to the movie’s massive box office thus far.  With a very good chance at snagging two Sound Oscars, and perhaps even Film Editing, Cooper could be an easy follow in for the film in a major way.  Cooper is very well liked, completely changing his image from “THAT guy” from “The Hangover” and “Wedding Crashers,” into one of the finest actors working today.  He’s also remained committed to his stage run in “The Elephant Man,” a performance that’s been hailed by everyone from the Broadway community and audiences, publicity that could also factor in.  It also helps that Cooper shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.  He may be joining Marlon Brando and Al Pacino with upcoming roles in the yet untitled John Wells project, Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha,” and David O. Russell’s “Joy,” all slated for this year.  He’s virtually everywhere. 

With Michael Keaton‘s work in “Birdman” and Eddie Redmayne‘s work in “The Theory of Everything” heavily favored in the category, two individuals very closely matched in quality and buzz, this could leave room for someone to come up the middle.  You can look back on races like Daniel Day-Lewis vs. Jack Nicholson that opened a slot for Adrien Brody to score for “The Pianist.”  That’s where Cooper could slide in at the last minute.  Ballots are still in hand until Tuesday.

Share your thoughts on this scenario in the comment section.

If you have missed an Oscar Scenario piece, click the TAG “2015 Oscars Scenarios” or CLICK HERE.