Even before its release, and before any critics had seen it, A Star Is Born seemed to have all the makings of an awards season grand slam. The trailer—one of the more compelling ones in recent years—confirmed that, as did the initial reviews of the film. The fact that it was a musical only upped the odds that it would dominate awards season nominations; Lady Gaga was seen a veritable lock to take home the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical like musicians turned actresses Madonna, Bette Midler, and Cher before her. Especially as she wouldn’t be competing directly against other best actress frontrunners like Glenn Close.
Now, however, the path to Oscars and Golden Globe glory is a lot murkier. That’s because Warner Bros. has decided to submit the film for Golden Globes consideration as a drama. (Interestingly, fellow musical Bohemian Rhapsody is also being considered a drama, as IndieWire notes.)
While it still may be powerful enough to stand a chance in that heavily competitive space, that means a lot less is certain about its potential wins. That is even more true for Lady Gaga, who makes her acting debut in the film, and could have easily taken home the Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy. The Hollywood Foreign Press does love her. They already awarded her for her turn in American Horror Story: Hotel, a role for which she didn’t even get an Emmy nomination. Still, there is a chance that the HFPA will reassign the movie’s genre tag over the wishes of Warner Bros.
Even though billing A Star Is Born as a drama brings more obstacles to its awards trajectory, it’s not exactly surprising that the director, writer, and costar Bradley Cooper would be up for the challenge. After all, the whole film also doubles as a launch for his directorial career. From the makeup ban on set to him wearing the same suede shirt throughout the film as if to avoid any possible distractions from his and Gaga’s acting, Cooper has been laser focused on making his film a serious venture.
He said as much in his recent cover story with W, in which he unpacked the chip on his shoulder, saying, “I’ve always been an underdog. I was always operating under the lens of not really being seen as the ‘main guy.’... I’ve heard it all in my career. Early on, I didn’t get a role because they said I wasn’t ‘fuckable.’... In the end, you have to reserve your attention for the work and not listen to anyone. People I care about, who care about me, told me not to direct A Star Is Born, said that it would be too difficult and I should start with something easier. Luckily, I didn’t listen. I loved that it was really, really hard to make this film. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have the same value. And that’s always been my goal: to make something, no matter how challenging, that will be remembered.” Awards or not, that much is certainly accomplished.