As mentioned yesterday, A Star is Born world premieres in Venice tonight and we’ll have a solid idea then how far it can go during award season. Given what we’ve seen of the campaign strategy so far, I can’t imagine that the film is going to crash and burn out of the first festival. In fact, there are signs that it could explode out of Venice and build even more momentum in Toronto in front of a North American audience. 

What is the strategy so far? Well, as we’ve seen, we’re being introduced to Lady Gaga, the actress. And Bradley Cooper, the first time director, Bradley Cooper, the filmmaker. An early review of the film that was leaked last week and subsequently pulled down was super high on Coop’s promise behind the camera. Like they were basically saying we could be looking at the next Clint Eastwood (actor-director model). 

For Gaga, this is big, of course. But even if ASIB is sh-t (which it likely won’t be), I’m not sure the stakes are as high for Lady Gaga as they are for Bradley Cooper. He’s a Warner Bros boy. He’s one of their favourites. They’ve put a lot of faith in his abilities. They’ve invested in him as an actor and they’re investing in his future as a director. So. You can imagine the strategy at play right now. 

Obviously everything orbits the work. If the work isn’t worth it, there’s no point in discussing strategy. But… sometimes…when the work is worth it, the strategy can undermine it. Which is why it’ll be so interesting to see how Coop, the director, is presented to us. We’ll get all the usual stories, about how he wouldn’t give up on this project, about how he’s pretty much taken two, almost three, really, years off acting to devote himself to it. About how he coaxed this performance out of Gaga. About how he made himself vulnerable by singing live. About how he had to do all that while managing all the other components of his cinematic symphony. That’s the professional side of it. As for the personal… 

Back in May, Coop and Irina Shayk walked their first carpet together at the Met Gala. And as I asked at the time, was this a sign that Irina would be part of the process of promoting the film and Coop’s Oscar chances? Can we look back on the Met Gala now and see that as a step in that process? 

Bradley and Irina arrived in Venice yesterday, along with their daughter Lea. She wants to be there, understandably, to be at her partner’s side as he unveils his first film. It’s also not a bad look. When an actor like Bradley Cooper makes the jump to director, there’s a level of maturity and experience that’s implied. Nothing illustrates “maturity” like becoming a parent, a committed and doting partner. It’s derivative but you can’t deny that it works. This is no longer the bachelor playboy who used to hang with Leonardo DiCaprio on yachts. This is the FORMER bachelor playboy who fell in love with a model and would rather hang out with her and their baby… on a yacht, or the beach, or the park. They’ll never admit it but that’s the sh-t that those old ass Oscar voters pay attention to. All of that is in place now. And so all that’s left is for the film to soar out of the gate tonight and then the rest of the way, the goal will be to maintain that image.