It seems to be an internet fad to sneeringly poke fun at Bradley Cooper’s disappointment over the lack of awards recognition for his version of A Star is Born — because people are shitty, and artists who spend years making a passion project in the public eye are easy targets. The truth is Cooper should be disappointed because A Star is Born is everything he thinks it is: a modern cis / hetero love story perfectly told, with truly standout performances by everyone involved and an expert first-time attempt behind the camera.
Warner Brothers provided Midwest Film Journal with an early DVD / Blu-ray copy; it’s already available digitally if you’re into that sort of rental. The film was on several of our year-end review lists, and Nick Rogers’ comprehensive review was one of his best pieces last year. Cooper’s performance as Jackson Maine deserves the Best Actor award (although it’s like to lose to an embarrassing, kitschy take on a famous real-life rock star instead), and it feels like Lady Gaga should be a no-brainer for Actress although she, too, is likely to lose to an embarrassing, kitschy performance by Glenn Close.
Ah, well. At least we still have A Star is Born.
I’ll let Nick’s review do the talking about the movie’s high qualities. How does the DVD / Blu-ray release stack up in? It’s great, and if you like the movie, well worth owning. The sole documentary is about 30 minutes long. It’s fairly standard making-of / PR / awards-stories stuff with the bonus of footage from the live filming of Cooper and Gaga playing their characters singing in front of live festival audiences. Cooper’s enthusiastic, constant name-dropping of famous directors he learned from — like Clint Eastwood and David O Russell — would be grating if A Star is Born wasn’t genuinely superior to anything those two have made in the past decade.
This release also includes three music videos for the singles released off the soundtrack: “Shallow” (which should win the Oscar for Best Song, come on), “Always Remember Us This Way” and “I’ll Never Love Again.” Also included is an option to skip to any musical moment of the film, including the smaller performances that didn’t have music videos like Gaga’s introductory performance of “La Vie En Rose.”
A Star is Born should be a front-runner and it isn’t. Was it released too early? Has Cooper been too confident in his chances, making voters gun-shy? I can’t say. But it’s a damn good movie and, if you love it, worth owning.