Bradley Cooper will be presented with the Director of the Year Award for directing this year’s “A Star Is Born” at the 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, the festival announced Wednesday.
Cooper will receive the award at the festival’s Film Awards Gala hosted by Mary Hart and “Entertainment Tonight” on Thursday, Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
Cooper joins Glenn Close, Alfonso Cuarón, Rami Malek, Melissa McCarthy and “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly and stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as other honorees at this year’s festival.
Past recipients of the Director of the Year Award include Stephen Daldry, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell and Robert Zemeckis. Cooper received the festival’s Desert Palm Achievement Award in 2013 for “Silver Linings Playbook” and the Ensemble Cast Award in 2014 for “American Hustle.”
“Bradley Cooper makes a stunning directorial debut with ‘A Star Is Born,’” said Festival chairman Harold Matzner in a statement. “Cooper captures authentic performances in this moving film that has emotionally resonated with audiences everywhere and is sure to be celebrated as one of the best pictures of the year. It is our honor to present the Director of the Year Award to Bradley Cooper.”
Cooper directs and stars opposite Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born,” the fourth telling of the classic stardom love story. Cooper plays an alcoholic country musician who meets and falls in love with Gaga’s character Ally, an aspiring singer who rises to fame as his star begins to fall.
The film also stars Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle and comes from Warner Bros. Pictures, Live Nation Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs Jan. 3-14.
A Star is Born review from Vanity Fair:
When it hits its highest, most resonant notes, Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born—starring the director alongside pop icon Lady Gaga—achieves a triumphant, romantic ache that is often just what we want to experience at the movies. The film, which screened here at the Toronto International Film Festival after a buzzy opening in Venice, is solidly traditional without feeling staid or overly familiar. That’s tricky for any big, earnest romantic drama, and even trickier when the story has been told three previous times on-screen, most recently in a 1976 film starring Barbra Streisand. Yet Cooper and his radiant co-star more than pull it off, crafting a three-hanky melodrama that’s somehow fresh, modern, and vital.
Gaga has a Golden Globe award for acting, so she’s not exactly a newcomer. A Star Is Born nevertheless plays as a striking debut, a consummate show-woman finally revealing the full gradient and natural ease of her talents. (Well, who knows; maybe she can juggle, too.) Of course, when her character, Ally—a waitress who moonlights as a cabaret singer at a gay club—lets loose with Gaga’s famous contralto bellow, we’re seeing the pop star we’ve long known and loved. But Gaga is also a real actress, turning in a fluid and intuitive performance that seamlessly matches those of her more seasoned co-stars. (Sam Elliott is also in the film, to nice effect. So too, oddly, is Andrew Dice Clay.)
As Ally and Cooper’s grizzled, hard-drinking alt-country music star, Jackson Maine, tumble into love and career together, Gaga finds nuanced ways to communicate Ally’s timidity and her strength, how the awed hesitancy of leaning into a dream maybe finally coming true is matched, or rather surpassed, by a deep-seated conviction in her talent. Gaga, like Cher before her, proves that acting is just another conduit through which to channel her innate (and also hard won, I’m sure) genius for entertaining. Maybe the singing is a little sturdier than the acting at this point, but in A Star Is Born, she shows such exhilarating, mostly-there-already promise.
And boy does she have a scene partner in Cooper, who gives maybe the performance of his career. (All while directing the damn thing, too!) Jackson is a pickled mess, a self-destructive shambles who creaks with sadness over a bitter past. But he’s also haloed in decency; Jackson isn’t mean or vindictive. He’s maybe cruel in a scene or two, but we understand where it’s coming from. And Cooper is careful to show Jackson’s genuine contrition, his yearning not to inflict his own pain on those around him and the hurt of it all when he fails. With its swallowed growl and staggering gait, Cooper’s performance is a big one, but it doesn’t overwhelm. The totality of what Cooper is doing exists in proportion to everything around him, and he and Gaga flow with perfect, earthy chemistry. I’m surprised they didn’t fall madly in love while making the movie.
It’s just such a warm and generous thing. Cooper and his cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, shoot in lush, saturated tones, the bleary swirl of concert scenes giving way to intimate, closely filmed exchanges offstage. What great faces these two have! One fresh and alert and curious, the other crinkling with weary kindness. Cooper’s script—co-written by Eric Roth and Will Fetters—has a compassionate roundness, showing an affection for nearly every character, from fast-talkin’ New Yawk dads to supportive drag queens. (Willam Belli and D.J. “Shangela” Pierce are in this movie, folks.) The romance at the center—corkscrewing up and down as Ally’s career explodes and Jackson sinks further into his despair—maintains its visceral truth throughout. It’s a connection convincingly forged in the making of other things, strengthened by a shared need to express the emotional currents of being alive in as pure and persuasive a way as possible.
Which I suppose brings me to the real red meat of this movie: the music. Gaga and Lukas Nelson have composed a sampling of songs that exist comfortably in the environment of the movie, but could also (and likely will) stand on their own. Cooper has a pleasant twang when he sings, projecting a melancholy, afternoon-y vibe that brings to mind Crazy Heart. (Which Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for. Hm.) Gaga does a fun rendition of “La Vie en Rose” at a gay bar, a nod to this movie’s already legion gay fans (most of whom haven’t even seen it yet).
All that is great. But when Gaga and Cooper are duetting, howling out the movie’s signature song “The Shallow,” Ally having been dragged on stage at first reluctantly, the movie explodes with vivid life. Cooper’s camera captures the enveloping rush as hearts open and lives change. These performance scenes are true magic, reveling in the shiver-inducing wonder of a religious revival and a coronation. They’re some of the most spirited stretches of film you’re likely to see this fall.
As inevitably happens in stories like these (and quite specifically, this story), a downward turn must be taken, hardship confronted and moved on from. In all that mounting gloom, A Star Is Born may be a bit haunted by the uplifting glory of what came before. But Cooper knows not to wallow too much, delivering the wallop most of us know is coming without a lot of dreary moping. It’s the wisdom of this finely made movie (what an auspicious debut for Cooper the director—and thank goodness Clint Eastwood didn’t make this, as once planned) that it knows its own graceful weight, that it calibrates itself with such balance.
I’m tempted to say that, yeah, sure, there is a little cheesiness to be found in the movie. Because that’s how we’re supposed to love movies like this, with caveats and qualifications that show we’re aware that it’s all a little silly. But you know what? I thought barely anything in A Star Is Born had an actual ring of hokiness or schmaltz. What I think is so often mistaken for that stuff is big, sincere, high-drama feeling, which the film has in abundance. I love the rhythm and rumble of this old story told well, so richly scored with song. So many different stars are born—or at least reimagined—in A Star Is Born that you leave with the lingering glow of a constellation still dazzling in your eyes. If that’s a corny thing to say, so be it. I’m far too swept away by this lovely and satisfying movie to care.
When A Star Is Born writer, director, and star Bradley Cooper was looking for a dog to feature in the film, he looked no further than his own pup Charlie.
In the drama, Cooper’s character Jackson Maine and Ally (Lady Gaga) adopt a dog together and the actor felt his personal connection to the pooch would read on-screen.
“There was no nepotism — I wanted this relationship with the dog,” Cooper told PEOPLE last week during the film’s Los Angeles premiere. “[Jackson and Ally] don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs.”
Charlie is named after Cooper’s late father, who died after a battle with lung cancer in 2011. “That meant a lot for him to be in the film,” he shared.
Charlie not only appears in key scenes as the relationship between musicians Jackson and Ally grows — he’s also a key element of A Star Is Born’s emotional climax.
The 43-year-old notes his pet has begun to show signs of diva behavior following his big break, sharing that Charlie now “has an agent.”
“I don’t talk to him much anymore,” Cooper jokes. “He doesn’t return my calls. He always walks away from me unless I have food.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) 6 de outubro de 2018
The actor, director, and writer sat down with Vanity Fair’s Krista Smith in Toronto to go very, very deep on his extremely personal new film.
Bradley Cooper swears he couldn’t have done it any other way. Friends had told the actor that, if he wanted to try out directing, he should start with a TV episode or a commercial, just to learn. “I said, that scares the hell out of me,” he told Vanity Fair’s executive West Coast editor, Krista Smith, in a conversation at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I wouldn’t know where to put the camera. . . . You can’t control what moves you, and I wanted to tell a love story.”
The love story that Cooper chose is one that’s been a staple in Hollywood for nearly a century. Cooper’s A Star Is Born, which opens in theaters Friday after a rapturous festival run, is the fourth version of the film, starring Cooper opposite Lady Gaga as a successful musician with a disastrous drinking problem who meets an up-and-coming singer—who might be able to help him turn it all around.
Each version of A Star Is Born is unique, and Cooper brought many personal touches to the script, which he co-wrote with Eric Roth and Will Fetters. One of the most significant is the relationship between his character and his half brother, played by Sam Elliott, who has managed his much-younger brother’s career but never stopped resenting him. The siblings bottle up their emotions for most of the film, until Cooper’s character, Jackson, opens up in a pivotal scene—so pivotal, Cooper said, that he was nervous to film it.
“I remember even in the table read, I couldn’t even say the line. I would start crying,” he told Smith. “I was scared for that scene.”
Even before Elliott signed on for the film, Cooper based his character, Jackson Maine, on the actor—and worked with his dialect coach from American Sniper, Tim Monich, for four hours a day to model his voice on Elliott’s. “He’s from Sacramento, his mom was born in Texas,“ Cooper said, explaining why he chose Elliott’s voice as the ideal “hybrid accent” model for Jackson Maine. “Sam has this accent you can’t quite place.”
When it came time for Cooper to meet Elliott and ask him to be in the film, he said, “It was a crazy thing. I didn’t know if he was going to yell at me, be like ‘Who the hell do you think you are.’ I played an interview verbatim that he gave at Sundance a year or two year ago, but it was me doing it.” Lucky for Cooper, and the movie, Elliott was in. “Thank God he said yes, because I would have had to rewrite the whole thing. Six months of work on my voice would have gone down the drain.”
Elliott’s character may be the main idol for Cooper’s character, but Cooper himself has plenty of them—several of whom were around for the production of A Star Is Born. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, stars of the 1976 version of the story, visited the set—“We were all completely blown away that they did that”—and Kristofferson happened to be performing at the Glastonbury Music Festival in England in 2017, when Cooper planned to shoot a few crowd scenes for the movie. “I had four minutes before,” he said. “The best part was I got to say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kris Kristofferson.’ And I walked off the stage as he walked on. I’ll never forget it.”
On the first day of the film’s production, Cooper’s American Sniper director, Clint Eastwood, also stopped by for a decidedly Eastwood-style visit. “He came and had lunch,” Cooper said. “He just drives up by himself in his 1988 Audi. That guy is the most unassuming.”
And finally, one more father figure: the fluffy dog that Cooper and Gaga’s characters get midway through the film, who has such undeniable chemistry with both actors? That’s Cooper’s real dog, Charlie. Named after his father.
Watch the full, 35-minute interview above for much, much more from Cooper, including the low moments when he considered leaving the entire entertainment industry behind, the six characters he’s always felt he had to play (and how many of them he’s now embodied), and the moment he saw Lady Gaga perform and knew he wanted her in A Star Is Born.