Sean Penn has written a love letter to Bradley Cooper and A Star Is Born. The two-time Oscar-winning actor and director has somewhat kept his distance from the limelight over recent years. His last role in a live action film was back in 2015’s The Sniper, while his last directorial effort was way back in 2007, with the acclaimed Into The Wild. New work is certainly on the way from Penn, but for the time being, he appears to have busied himself praising Cooper’s work.
With 8 Oscar nominations to its credit, Cooper’s A Star Is Born has delighted both fans and critics straight into Hollywood’s awards season. Its story follows the lives of grizzled veteran musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) and the newfound fame that his protégé Ally (Lady Gaga) experiences after the two foster a relationship together. Through the many ups and downs of both Jackson and Ally’s careers, audiences are exposed to a fragile yet volatile relationship between two staggering talents of the music world. Though a remake of the 1937 film of the same name, A Star Is Born is Cooper’s directorial debut (as well as his first attempt at screenwriting) and carries with it all the hallmarks of a Hollywood classic.
There was certainly no shortage of praise for the popular awards contender as Sean Penn wrote a short letter (via Deadline), celebrating everything about A Star Is Born and its need for Oscar glory. Comparing Cooper’s filmmaking to the work of legendary American director Hal Ashby, Penn acknowledged that there were other great films made over the past year, but that A Star Is Born truly leads the pack in terms of all around filmmaking:
"There are many really good films and performances nominated this year. There are also many perishable trend-pieces that, win or lose, will be lost to memory. In a fair world, A Star is Born sweeps the awards. It’s just such a gift. Clear minds and hearts cannot possibly deny it its due. It’s over and over again one of my favorite films of all time, harkening back to the essential filmmaking of Hal Ashby."
While the bulk of the letter carefully explained just what it is about A Star Is Born that has moved Penn to write his feelings down, the 58-year-old star has never been one to hold his tongue for anyone. Before the editorial had reached its end, Penn had managed to simultaneously celebrate Cooper’s achievements and downplay the concept of any awards ceremony determining what is or isn’t worthwhile filmmaking:
"In the end, the apples and oranges of film competition, and the inequity of advertising budgets has always left the Academy Awards with some inevitable aftertaste of the alcohol most of us have to drink to get through them. To spare myself potential disappointment, I’m raising a glass in advance to Bradley Cooper and A Star is Born. Surely a raised glass is as legitimate as a globe of gilded gold or a male statuette minus a penis (also gold gilded). God forbid it have balls this year!"
Without a doubt, there are ample chances for Cooper’s debut to make its mark at this year’s Academy Awards. It’s interesting that Penn would take the time to divulge his feelings about A Star Is Born, as the famed actor seems more likely these days to make headlines regarding his charity work or his ongoing conflict with the DEA over his interview with notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Perhaps what this sudden outburst of praise can be attributed to, then, is Penn’s ongoing love for quality cinema. Over the years his uncompromising vision and work ethic have elevated his stature as both an actor and a filmmaker. A Star Is Born may not sweep this year’s Oscar’s, but Penn just may be on to something when he stops everything to point out a powerful film’s strengths to the world.