Oscars: 5 reasons why Bradley Cooper (‘Maestro’) is 100% guaranteed to win Best Actor

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Another one bites the dust. No, this isn’t a “Bohemian Rhapsody” reference. (Though, I must say, I so enjoyed that awards year.) Allow me to explain …

I recently presented “Five Reasons Why Danielle Brooks Will Win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for ‘The Color Purple.'” While I felt confident writing that, I also felt disappointed. After all, I was looking forward to another cliffhanger in that category (a la Angela Basset vs. Kerry Condon vs. Jamie Lee Curtis last year.)

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So it pains me to say that after attending a recent film screening, I can proclaim that another Oscar race is as good as over. I’ll just rip off the band-aid as quickly as I can. Here are five reasons why Bradley Cooper is 100% guaranteed to win the Best Actor Oscar for “Maestro.”

1. The part has Oscar written all over it.
He’s playing a real-life person (celebrated conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.) He’s remarkably physically transformed onscreen (that schnoz practically deserves top billing.) He uses an accent (the very worst combination of Boston and New York.) He smokes, drinks, dances, kisses, rages and ages — all in the course of just over two hours. And he never ceases to amaze. Going back to the real-life person/physical transformation combo, it’s the same formula that helped deliver Oscars to Adrien Brody in “The Pianist,” Nicole Kidman in “The Hours,” Charlize Theron in “Monster,” Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote,” Helen Mirren in “The Queen,” Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose,” Sean Penn in “Milk,” Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side,” Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady,” Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything,” Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour,” Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapaody,” Renee Zellweger in “Judy” and Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Expect all eyes to be on Bradley in this year’s Best Actor showdown.

SEE‘Maestro’ sound mixer Steve Morrow: ‘The goal was to have the audience experience the music the way that Lenny must have’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

2. He knocks it out of the park.
Of course, the Oscar blueprint that I outlined above is irrelevant if the work is subpar, adequate or even just above average. Fortunately for Cooper, his portrayal of the “Maestro” is both miraculous and marvelous. He manages to astound with every line, every look and every move. His dramatic orchestra-conducting scenes deserve special recognition. Cooper surely had to engage in extraordinary training and intense rehearsal to bring Leonard to life. Bradley’s pitch-perfect conducting should be music to Oscar’s ears.

3. He’ll win the SAG Award (and probably everything else).
I suspect that the Golden Globe is pretty much his. But it’s SAG that we really have to watch. And I know, I previously declared Colman Domingo in “Rustin” the man to beat. However, that was before I saw “Maestro.” And Cooper completely exceeded expectations. Not just mine, but with almost all of the SAG members present at the special screening that I attended. I did a quick survey as we exited the auditorium, and heard nothing but rapturous reviews for Cooper. “He completely disappeared into the role,” one actor explained. “I completely forgot that I was watching Bradley Cooper,” another gasped. When I asked if Brad could win Best Actor at SAG, one member summed it up best by responding, “How could he not?”

SEE‘Maestro’ multi-hyphenate Bradley Cooper may match Emma Thompson’s Oscars record

4. “Maestro” will be nominated for numerous Academy Awards.
Best Picture of the year. Best Actress for Carey Mulligan. Best Cinematography. (Best Makeup seems like a foregone conclusion.) Even Best Director for “Maestro” maestro Cooper himself is a real possibility. Strong support for “Maestro” means that the academy will want to reward it in a big way. And what better way than by voting for the “Maestro” himself?

5. He’s finally due for Oscar recognition.
Cooper had his first shot at the prize for 2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” Subsequent bids for 2013’s “American Hustle” and 2014’s “American Sniper” would make it three in a row. He would compete again for 2018’s “A Star is Born,” only to be outshined once again. Let’s not forget that he has an additional five nominations to his credit, mostly for producing films that he also starred in (as well as 2019’s acclaimed “Joker”). This year, it’s Cooper who gets the last laugh. Expect his masterful turn in “Maestro” to be the last chapter in a silver linings playbook — the one that finally turns silver into Oscar gold.

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