A Star Is Born, the musical remake of three previous films that stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, entered the fall season as the odds-on favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film, which was Cooper’s directorial debut, drew rave reviews and performed well at the box office, with many viewers praising it as the kind of old-school movie that’s rarely made anymore.
However, the film’s momentum has very much slowed in the months since. It won no Golden Globe awards with the exception of Best Song, and while the film earned eight Academy Award nominations, Cooper was not nominated for Best Director. Cooper, who was nominated for Best Actor, even told Oprah Winfrey in a recent SuperSoul Conversations that he was embarrassed over his lack of a directing nod, per the BBC.
But now, another prominent actor/director has arrived to attempt to cheer Cooper up: Sean Penn.
Penn authored a first-person opinion piece for Deadline that was published Friday in which he defended Cooper and the film and argued that “in a fair world, A Star is Born sweeps the awards.”
In the piece, titled “Bradley Cooper Has a Problem,” Penn praised Cooper’s film to the skies.
“Sure, it all looks good on the outside. Family, fame, fortune, and with his first film as director, he’s made the most successful contemporary love story of all time. That’s exactly the problem Bradley Cooper has… 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.”
In very heavy-handed prose, Penn goes on to talk up the film, its Oscar chances, and Cooper, while concluding that he is “raising a glass” to the film.
GUEST COLUMN – Sean Penn: "Bradley Cooper has a problem" (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/J3PU8dVC38
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) February 8, 2019
“Surely a raised glass is as legitimate as a globe of gilded gold or a male statuette minus a penis (also gold gilded),” Penn finishes. “God forbid it have balls this year!”
It’s not clear if Penn wrote the op-ed at the behest of anyone involved with the film, or if he did so on his own.
Sean Penn has dabbled in journalism in the past, including the infamous episode in which he traveled to Mexico to interview drug lord El Chapo for Rolling Stone; Penn’s trip is said to have led to the drug lord’s capture not long afterward, per the New York Times.
The Academy Awards will air on ABC on February 24.