• Daniela Urzola

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

With underwhelming performances and a dull story, A Star is Born drops to the bottom of my ranking of Oscar nominees.

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018) DP: Matthew Libatique

Let me follow up my previous rant with another one. I can't begin to stress how much I disliked A Star is Born. Taking into account the thousands of great reviews the film had, I was completely and utterly unimpressed by it. Sure, it is an okay directing debut for Bradley Cooper, but that's about as much as I can see in it. I will put it in a simple manner: A Star is Born is not a good film. It is overrated in every sense of the way. How it got such a good critical reception and so many Oscar nominations beats me. The story is so plain, cliché and predictable, that it makes for one of the least interesting and worst executed screenplays I have seen in a movie in the past years. On top of it is the fact that it is simply not believable -seriously, they write a song in 10 minutes and perform it perfectly the next day without rehearsing it once-, which doesn't make it romantic, rather than filled with plot holes and poor writing.

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018) DP: Matthew Libatique

Such a void story can only be worsened by Lady Gaga's underwhelming performance. I beg to differ from the people that say her acting is genuine. It is not genuine, it is simply not acting. I tried really hard to see what the critics had seen in her -really, what were they thinking when they gave her an award next to Glenn Close?-, but I just didn't buy it one bit, nor did I find there was a much necessary chemistry between her and Bradley Cooper. If there was one thing to be achieved for the film to succeed, it was a chemistry between the actors, which I did not quite perceive throughout the entirety of the movie. Cooper's performance on its own is good, but like most of his roles, it is far from being exceptional and has nothing on contenders like Viggo Mortensen or Christian Bale. Same goes for Sam Elliott and for the cast as a whole -seriously, how did they get nominated for the SAG awards over The Favourite?-.

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018) DP: Matthew Libatique

Besides Best Original Song -because it's true, the soundtrack is remarkably beautiful and Gaga's and Cooper's voices together are truly powerful-, I can't seem to find a single award category in which A Star is Born remotely stands out. I have already said enough about the screenplay, which I find to be the most undeserving out of all the nominations, alongside Best Actress. Now, regarding the cinematography, I won't say the visuals aren't well-crafted. I am big fan of Matthew Libatique's work, specially when he teams up with Darren Aronofsky. But here, aside from a couple of shots and the use of colors in several scenes, the cinematography is nothing impressive. And as far as the direction goes, as I said in the beginning of the post, I think it's a good start for Cooper as a director, but -and thankfully the Academy agreed with me on this one- he's still a long way from sharing a spot with works like those of the actual nominees this year.

I don't understand what people have seen in A Star is Born. I don't share it, I don't see it, and I definitely wouldn't have given the film a nom for Best Picture in a year where there were so many other deserving works. Nor would I have included Lady Gaga in the Best Actress run -Toni Collette, anyone?-. What comforts me is that, in spite of its multiple nominations, I don't think A Star is Born is going to become an Oscar winner. And that is about as much of a win for us all.

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