Martin Levy was one of the honorary Oscar recipients at the Governors Awards last night. Martin is a publicist and the Academy was formally acknowledging the work of publicity on a night when, as you know, Oscar strategists were working hard to position their candidates in the best possible light as we approach the nomination period. Nomination week begins in less than two months. Everyone is now trying to make the unofficial short list.
Here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s final paragraph in their article about the Governors Awards last night – it made me laugh:
And in addition to the moments of sincerity, there were also the kind of tart comments that often come in the midst of a busy, awards season weekend, as in the running joke at multiple tables where attendees speculated whether anyone would take the stage like Bradley Cooper’s drunken character in A Star Is Born, pants wetting and all, or the executive who mused during the cocktail hour, “Can’t you feel the quiet desperation?”
Bradley Cooper was not there. Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott were there to represent A Star Is Born. Gaga and Sam were also together at the SAG-AFTRA event last week, another stop on the award circuit. Bradley, as we’ve seen, has maintained a much lower profile in the weeks since the movie was released, perhaps to avoid being seen as too thirsty. What’s hilarious then (and ironic too?) is that even though he hasn’t been around, you can feel him around anyway. Like he may be physically absent but, please, it’s not like anyone actually believes he’s not interested. It’s not like anyone’s out here comparing Bradley Cooper to, say, Joaquin Phoenix who legitimately loathes the Oscar politics.
But, sure, whatever, OK, let’s go with their game plan – Coop is staying off the circuit for now, with Gaga as the face of the ASIB campaign, trying to secure that Best Actress nomination and Sam Elliott working for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Neither one is trying to pretend that they don’t want it and nobody is holding that against them.
Would we hold that against Bradley Cooper? Coop was actually in LA yesterday. He was papped with Irina Shayk and their daughter Lea at the Farmers Market in Santa Monica. Is that what we’re doing here? “I’d rather spend time with family instead of thirsting for Oscar”? On a night when everyone was there thirsting for Oscar, I’m not sure his thirst would have been singled out in particular.
All that said, maybe they’re confident enough, right now, in ASIB’s chances in the Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay categories – all of Coop’s categories – at least for nominations. It seems unimaginable that the film won’t be nominated in at least three of those four, and so they’re saving him as a closer, for when the nominations are actually in, and the other contenders have all been identified, and the final push begins for those votes. Maybe they don’t want to use him too early, wear him out too early. Maybe they want to avoid ASIB fatigue, understanding that everyone else is going to put up a fight. As I’ve been saying, ASIB is in the lead but no one is letting ASIB run away with it and, sometimes, it’s harder to maintain a lead than it is to capture it.