Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.
FILM: “A Star Is Born”
PRODUCERS: Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor
DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros.
DIRECTOR: Bradley Cooper
WRITERS: Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
CAST: Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga), Bradley Cooper, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott
SYNOPSIS: In this new take on the tragic love story, he plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers—and falls in love with—struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer… until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED
If the last two years are any indication, the public is hungry for musicals. While last year’s “The Greatest Showman” failed to score significant Oscar nominations beyond Best Original Song, it surprised everyone by earning nearly $400 million worldwide. The year before, Best Picture nominee “La La Land” earned nearly $450M worldwide. Audiences love musicals, and are ready to love this one.
Bradley Cooper brings four Academy Award nominations to his directorial debut. Three nods celebrated his performances in “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle,” and “American Sniper.” All three of which were Best Picture nominees, too. His fourth nomination came for producing “American Sniper.”
Does this mean Cooper can direct? It certainly doesn’t guarantee it. But he has demonstrated skills both onscreen and behind the scenes. And when you blend his skills with Germanotta, who wrote all new music for this film, it could potentially be a very winning combination. The Academy Award-nominated songwriter performs all original songs for “A Star is Born.” She co-wrote them all, collaborating with Cooper, as well as Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell, and Mark Ronson. They recorded the music live while filming, which tends to add something extra to the performances.
The screenplay is by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters. Roth is a four-time Oscar nominee, who won in 1995 for his adaptation of “Forrest Gump.” Elsewhere behind the scenes, Matthew Libatique served as Director of Photography. Libatique was nominated for his cinematography for “Black Swan” in 2010. Karen Murphy is the production designer. She has yet to score her first Oscar nomination, but has been celebrated by the Art Directors Guild for “The Great Gatsby,” “The Kite Runner,” and “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” And Jay Cassidy brings his three Oscar nominations (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “Into the Wild”) to the editing room.
WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED
This is the fourth go-around with “A Star Is Born.” The first was in 1937, where it won the Oscar for Original Story. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Assistant Director, and Leads Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. In 1954, Judy Garland and James Mason starred in the remake. That iteration earned six Oscar nominations, but did not win. Barbra Steisand brought the film into the 1970s with the 1976 remake that scored four nominations. This time, it failed to earn nods for acting, writing, or Best Picture. It did, however, earn Streisand an Oscar for Original Song.
The point is that there is a long history with this story. And while each version is beloved for different reasons, it is a story that has been told and retold. Are audiences ready for another turn at this? And will the Academy reward a film that has literally been done several times before?
POTENTIAL OSCAR CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
- Best Picture
- Best Director—Bradley Cooper
- Lead Actress—Stefani Germanotta
- Lead Actor—Bradley Cooper
- Supporting Actor—Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, and/or Sam Elliott
- Adapted Screenplay
- Original Song
- Original Score
- Film Editing
- Costume Design
- Production Design
- Makeup & Hairstyling
- Sound Mixing
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CHECK OUT THE FIRST OFFICIAL SET OF
YEAR-IN-ADVANCE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
AND SEE WHERE “A STAR IS BORN” RANKS!