Promote Maestro, that is. After getting itchy as f-ck as the SAG-AFTRA stretched well into autumn, Bradley Cooper finally gets to promote Maestro for real. He was at a BAFTA screening for Maestro held in New York yesterday, along with co-star Carey Mulligan, cinematographer Matthew Libatique, and makeup artist Kazu Hiro, who designed the prosthetic makeup for the film, including Coop’s controversial Leonard Bernstein nose. It’s the first official appearance Coop has been able to make for Maestro during award season, and all year, I think. Promotion for the film didn’t start until after the strikes did.


Now that the strikes are all over (for now, IATSE and Teamsters are up next year!), it’s going to be a full court press for awards season. Typically, as we get into the holiday season, things start to slow down, productions wind down, no one is making big deals, appearances are mostly kept to the holiday season film premieres and a handful of galas. But because of the strikes, everyone is trying to cram all their business into the next six weeks. I am positively distraught, I tell you, for my friends who are used to taking extended winter vacations and are now faced with 60 hour-plus work weeks to get all their deals done before the end of the year.


Coop will undoubtedly be in full-court press mode over the next week, too, as Maestro hits theaters next week, up against the similarly splashy Napoleon and Nicolas Cage’s latest cinematic idiosyncrasy, Dream Scenario (really, Napoleon is the big competition, and Killers of the Flower Moon, which is quietly posting solid, adults-are-going-to-see-this numbers). As I’ve said before, this is a stacked award season, the most competitive we’ve seen since the pandemic for sure, but even competitive compared to several years pre-pandemic, too. As a director, Coop is up against legends like Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, and some of the best and most admired filmmakers working today, including Yorgos Lanthimos, Jonathan Glazer, and Alexander Payne, not to mention Greta Gerwig working to join those ranks, and newcomer Cord Jefferson making a splash with American Fiction.


As an actor, he’s in just as much tough competition, competing with Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti, and Colman Domingo, who is looking to make a splash with Rustin. One of them is definitely getting left out in the cold, never mind dark horses like Andrew Scott and Barry Keoghan in the mix. Coop has not been able to enjoy awards season as a major contender yet, but now that he can, he has to cram three months of work into two weeks. If anyone is equipped for this madhouse pace, it’s Type A theater kid Bradley Cooper.