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Amy Adams & Bradley Cooper: Oscar Winners in Waiting



The Academy are a funny bunch, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the acting categories. Sometimes a newbie will storm the season with their first big performance, such as Christoph Waltz who currently has 2 Oscars from as many nominations for supporting actor – Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Others will wait years and finally earn themselves what many consider a bittersweet victory, voted on respect and pity by their peers.

It was widely thought that neither Sandra Bullock nor Leonardo DiCaprio put in their career best performance the year in which they finally won over the Academy for The Blind Side and The Revenant respectively. Jeff Bridges was grey before he finally won. And others will live out their career never getting their hands on that little statue which so many would have expected.

However, in an era where diversity is the name of the game and the Academy are driving change, two established studio stars continue knocking at the door, asking the question. With a combined 8 acting nominations between them and exactly 0 wins, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper are Hollywood’s most inevitable Oscar winners.

Bradley Cooper

Throughout the noughties, Cooper made his mark in Hollywood as a comedy actor with films including Wedding Crashers and more famously The Hangover. He has since gone on to be the pin-up example of how to transition successfully from comedy to drama.

His relationship with comedy has continued well into the present with two Hangover sequels, while his best performances have stemmed from films which allow his comedic brilliance to undertone an otherwise dramatic performance – Silver Linings PlaybookAmerican Hustle, and Guardians of the Galaxy for example. This has empowered him as one of Hollywood’s most popular and most bankable stars.

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When it comes to the Oscars, his golden streak from 2013-2015 saw him win four nominations; three for acting and one for producing American Sniper. His roles demonstrate a versatility and a universal popularity that the Academy love to celebrate readily with nominations, but ironically masks the gravitas necessary to win.

2016 has been a quiet year for Bradley Cooper, who has made small appearances in the TV adaptation of Limitless and J.J. Abrams’ 10 Cloverfield Lanewhile the upcoming Avengers and Guardians sequels will have no impact on the Oscars, not to mention the fact he is a mere voice actor in both. However, it does continue to keep him in the center of the box office spotlight, making him one to seriously watch out for in 2018.

In one of the most hit-or-miss productions in development at the moment, Cooper himself is directing a remake of Oscar favourite A Star Is Born, starring alongside Lady Gaga who herself has been establishing her thespian credibility in American Horror Story.

A Star Is Born could easily ride the musical waves triggered by the impending success of La La Land, though it is a huge gamble by Cooper to take the reigns himself. If it pays off, it could be just the sort of expectation breaker to turn heads and get him an Oscar. We’ll put money on, pending the film’s response, Cooper at least getting another leading nod in 2018.

Could it be his year?

Amy Adams

Like Bradley Cooper, Miss Adams’ first few roles ventured more into comedy with films such as Drop Dead Gorgeous and appearances in That 70s Show and Zoe, Duncan, Jack and JaneBut unlike Cooper, she quickly gave herself an image of credibility, tentpoling her filmography around critical hits and awards contenders.

It started with 2002’s Catch Me if You Can, and though the film itself won recognition from the Academy, it was three years later when Adams would see her first nomination, for a supporting turn in Junebug. After a tangent including Talladega NightsTenacious D and Enchanted, she came back storming with Charlie Wilson’s War and Doubt, for which she had her second supporting nomination.

Her appearances at the Oscars since have been evenly spread with two further supporting nominations for The Fighter and The Master at the 2011 and 2013 Oscars respectively, but the following year she collaborated with any actor’s dream director and, predictable, David O. Russell steered her to a leading actress nomination for American Hustle.

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It has been three years since, and Adams is back with a vengeance. Both Arrival and Nocturnal Animals are winning her plenty of awards buzz, and though a double nomination would be mightily impressive, neither are any match for Emma Stone, Natalie Portman and Viola Davis, who have all the momentum this year.

Her filmography following a busy 2016 looks bleak right now, with only The Justice League and Disenchanted – both sequels – on her slate, but few people will argue that a statuette has been put aside with her name on it. Many will dispute when it will be dusted off and presented.

Where Meryl Streep has prolifically been the one to beat since the 80s, Amy Adams is rapidly becoming the one who will be beat. But just one great performance at the right time will do it for her, and there are two options:

  1. A solid performance in a weak year
  2. Something different in a strong but typical year.

With five nominations under her belt, history tells us she will win one day, but it won’t be for her most deserving film.

Oscar and film awards expert. American Beauty, Grease and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are prominent DVDs on my shelf.

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