A Star Is Born should have been an obvious awards season darling. It’s a crowd-pleaser, has the critical backing to be taken seriously, and Hollywood loves a story about the perils of fame. And yet, somewhere along the way, it started lagging behind. Awards show after awards show passed with near-shutouts for the film, which is now nominated for eight Academy Awards, but has little chance of winning Best Picture.
Bradley Cooper's directorial debut had some big shoes to fill (two words: Judy. Garland.), and even bigger expectations to surpass (that trailer is itself a masterpiece), and so far, it’s done all that and more. The film currently holds an A grade in Cinemascore, and a 90% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Evidently, the love story between Jackson Maine (Cooper), an alcoholic rock star whose career is waning, and Ally (Lady Gaga), the angel-voiced ingenue he discovers after stumbling into the drag bar she’s performing in, has struck a chord. The question now is whether or not we’ll be calling Bradley Cooper an Oscar-winning filmmaker come February.
Still, it’s early days yet. In December 2016, La La Land seemed a shoo-in for the golden statue, and then, well, Moonlight happened. (In an ironic turn of events, Barry Jenkins’ latest film, If Beale Street Could Talk, is almost certainly going to be in the running against A Star Is Born.) The fact that Bohemian Rhapsody also involves a real-life musical legend might be tough to beat. Hollywood loves a myth.
Nevertheless, bringing home the Oscar would be momentous for a film that, over the years, has been nominated multiple times in its different iterations but never won. Could Lady Gaga rectify Judy Garland’s egregious 1955 snub? Is it even worth holding a Best Original Song competition when you have “Shallow” in the running? Can we create a special award for Best Dog to honor Bradley Cooper’s pooch Charlie? Let’s break down A Star Is Born’s chances come Sunday night.