Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 5-7, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

A Star Is Born

Oscar history is littered with actors-turned-director who earn Oscar glory. The likes of Robert Reford (1980), Warren Beatty (1981), Kevin Costner (1990), Clint Eastwood (1992, 2004), Mel Gibson (Braveheart), and Ron Howard (2001) all won Oscars. That’s a good sign for Bradley Cooper how headed behind the camera (as well as in front) to direct the fourth incarnation of the classic musical story A Star Is Born.

The first incarnation, in 1937, starred Oscar winners Janet Gaynor and Fredric March as a rising star and her drunken benefactor. The film secured seven Oscar nominations, the most of any of the four films to date, including nominations for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Directing, Original Story, Screenplay, and Assistant Director. It won for Original Story as well as an honorary Oscar for W. Howard Greene’s color photography. 17 years later, the second attempt at the story found Juvenile Oscar winner Judy Garland and James Mason as the pair. The film brought both actors their first Oscar nominations and the film also picked up nods in Scoring (this was the first musical version), Original Song, Art Direction, and Costume Design for a total of six.

Twenty-two years later, another attempt was made to tackle the subject putting Oscar winner Barbra Streisand and non-nominee Kris Kristofferson in the roles. Kristofferson would later pick up an Oscar nomination for songwriting, but the film was so poorly receive that it managed only four Oscar nominations, all in the creative categories. Though, it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Here we are 43 years on and Cooper has directed another version of the film with himself and Lady Gaga (Original Song Oscar nominee) in the role. Cooper has four Oscar nominations for acting and from the sound of things, he’s going to get his fifth for this film (and sixth as director). Lady Gaga is also being talked up as a Best Actress contender and could be the first major pop star to pick up the citation, with Madonna having lost out on a nomination for Evita back in 1996. She would finally have one up on her idol.

The film has done well with audiences (8.5 on IMDb, A at CinemaScore), had a terrific opening at the box office $41 million), and enjoys superb critics’ reviews (90% on Rotten Tomatoes with 8/10 average score and 88 at MetaCritic). Those factors combine to make this a major Oscar contender. Best Picture, Directing, Actor (Cooper), Actress (Lady Gaga), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song, and Film Editing seem assured. It will probably only win Best Original Song, giving Gaga an Oscar she should have won three years ago.

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