Last Friday, Sean Penn decided to grace us once again with his genius prose, writing a piece for Deadline about how his friend Bradley Cooper has a problem because he’s made the best film of the year and one of the greatest films of all time (according to Sean) but no one will give him credit for it. On this week’s episode of Show Your Work, which will be posted soon, during a conversation about Sean Penn not showing his work for Bradley Cooper, I posit that Bradley did not know ahead of time that Sean would be doing this. We recorded on Monday night and I had to rethink that opinion yesterday morning when Duana sent me IndieWire’s latest interview with Bradley who “Debunks Nine Myths About A Star Is Born”. 

As you know, ASIB and Bradley have been nominated a lot and have won not much during award season. As you know, the Oscar race is tight, with different films winning at different events. As you also know, Oscar voting opened yesterday. So everyone is into the final stage of campaigning. Bradley’s campaign appears to be …to play defence? 

This article addresses every possible perceived Oscar weakness in A Star is Born and Bradley Cooper and refutes it. And I’m not sure this is a good strategy. Here’s Caity Weaver’s take – and it’s a thread so make sure you read all the tweets below the first:

Um, first of all – PROTECT TAFFY!!!

Second…maybe this isn’t how the interview actually sounded. Maybe this wasn’t Bradley’s intended tone, to be so defensive about being nominated for major awards but not winning major awards. Maybe all he was doing was talking about award season and being a part of it on his directorial debut and the reporter ended up turning it into a “poor Bradley Cooper” piece disguised as a myth debunking session. But one interpretation of it could reasonably be that he feels he’s not being treated fairly, right? After all, that’s what Sean Penn is trying to say. 

So I go back to the question – is this good work? Is this effective campaigning? They’re putting out this messaging this week because people are voting. Is the Academy going to respond to it? Some will, for sure. The Sean Penns of Hollywood certainly will. And there are a lot of them. But what about the others? How will they read this play? Will they be sympathetic? Or will they be like… dude, how do you think Spike Lee feels?