Initially breaking out in comic roles in the early 2000s, after making a name for himself, Cooper has attempted to gain more respect as a skilled actor. For this reason, more recently the Philadelphia-born lead in The Hangover has aimed to involve himself with more serious projects such as The Place Beyond the Pines, American Sniper, and American Hustle. Despite being nominated for various Academy Awards, Cooper is yet to receive one. Could this be about to change with his upcoming feature A Star is Born?
Cooper’s Rise from Comic Actor to Oscar Candidate
Throughout the entire 2000s, Cooper was thought of as nothing more than a comic actor. He began his career with his role as a counsellor in David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer in 2001. This was followed up by minor television roles and then a bigger part in David Dobkin’s Wedding Crashers in 2005. In the picture, Cooper starred alongside Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and showed that he could play a different type of character to his usual nice guy.
Cooper’s big breakthrough came in Tod Phillips’ 2009 offering The Hangover. The film which featured three friends trying to retrace their steps in Las Vegas was a box office smash and raked in $467 million worldwide. This helped bring Cooper to the attention of other filmmakers, and soon the offers came flooding in. It led to roles in Valentine’s Day and The A-Team in 2010. Up to this point, Cooper was clearly being employed for his good looks over his acting ability, and the actor was desperate to prove critics wrong and show that he could be considered for serious roles.
The turning point was in 2012 when Cooper played one of the lead parts in the critically acclaimed crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines, directed by Derek Cianfrance. Critics noted how they were surprised at Cooper’s ability to produce such layered character work, and this led to the actor picking up roles in American Hustle and American Sniper in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The 43-year-old is now considered among the elite actors in Hollywood and has been nominated for four Academy Awards to date. Cooper is yet to win one, but this could be set to change. This year, the actor is due to star in his own feature film, A Star is Born, and some are speculating that this could be the role which earns Cooper his first Oscar.
How Does Cooper’s Journey Compare with Other Winners?
Cooper will have certainly looked at other actors who have won Oscars and begun to think that he could be nearing his time. Leonardo DiCaprio is close to the 43-year-old’s age, and has enjoyed a similar rise to the top. After making a name for himself in James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997, it took the Los Angeles-born actor nearly twenty years to win his first Academy Award. This came when DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor in Alejandro G. Inarritu’s 2015 epic The Revenant. According to Betway, studies have shown that life’s winners have been in their industry for an average of 13 years before they win a major accolade. This would mean that Cooper is slightly overdue his award. DiCaprio was also slightly late in receiving his recognition. Also, the average age of a first-time winner across various different categories including films and sport is 32. Therefore, Cooper may be aware that he is late to the awards party.
Other Oscar winners have taken less time to win the ultimate accolade than the two actors mentioned above, and fit in with what research has shown. Eddie Redmayne, for instance, won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the age of 32 for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. This was only eight years after the English actor’s first appearance in film, in the 2006 Australian thriller Like Minds. Adrien Brody is another actor who earned the highest recognition at a young age. He was 29 when he received the award for Best Actor for his sensational performance in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist in 2002. The actor did, however, concede that the role and his win did lead him to being typecast, explaining he wanted to be “as much of a chameleon as possible” to the Independent. Although Brody had acted in other films for ten years prior to this, Polanski’s film is regarded as his breakout role.
Could Lady Gaga Also be in Line to Win?
There is a possibility that Cooper’s co-star in A Star is Born could be in line for an award as well. While Lady Gaga is best known for her work in the music industry, she has wanted to get into acting from a young age. This dream was realised in 2015, when the pop singer played a hotel owner in the television series American Horror Story. For her part in this, she received the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film. Her excellent performances earnt her a part in the following season of the horror series, in which she starred as a witch. When she plays the leading lady alongside Cooper in A Star is Born, she has the chance to earn more accolades for her talents.
In terms of the grand scheme of Cooper’s acting career, it is high time that the 43-year-old earns an Academy Award for his skills in the industry. The question is whether his new film can gain enough attention to earn nominations for the Oscars.