Bradley Cooper has no less than four shots at Oscar glory as star, producer, co-writer and director of Netflix’s “Maestro,” but for now, he can bask in the glory of being selected as Outstanding Performer of the Year for the 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
The Philly native’s ultimate passion project, chronicling the life and work of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, has opened in cinemas to strong notices after a hearty film festival run (it will stream on Netflix starting on Dec. 20). He and costar Carey Mulligan (whom plays Bernstein’s wife, actress Felicia Montealegre) have appeared close to the top of nearly all prediction lists for acting nominations for the better part of 2023, with some heralding this as Cooper’s best work.
“Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper has proven to be an actor of incredible range and versatility,” says SBIFF executive director Roger Durling. “What has impressed me the most is that he has grown to be one of the most indelible directing voices. He’s a renaissance man—an outstanding performer indeed!”
Cooper has been nominated a total of nine times for the Academy Award, wearing various hats for films such as “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Sniper,” “American Hustle,” and his 2018 directorial debut “A Star is Born,” He is often cited as one of the most acclaimed performers to never have won an Oscar. Cooper has also won a Grammy Award for the “A Star is Born” soundtrack and has a Tony nomination for his performance as John Merrick in the 2013 Broadway revival of “The Elephant Man.”
The Outstanding Performer award at SBIFF has been awarded to actors such as Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine,” and Helen Mirren in “The Queen,” among many, all of whom claimed Oscar glory for those roles, so Cooper is definitely in good historical company.
Ryan Gosling has also been cited for excellence in Santa Barbara this year, as well as several others selected for the Virtuosos honors. Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo will also receive distinctions this season as well at SBIFF.
The 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from Feb. 7—17, 2024. For more information on passes, events and Q&As, visit sbiff.org.