We awards pundits owe Bradley Cooper an apology. For the past three years we gave him little chance to be nominated at the Oscars but he reaped bids for "Silver Linings Playbook," "American Hustle," and "American Sniper." Are we underestimating him again for his role in the new David O. Russell film "Joy" opposite his frequent co-star Jennifer Lawrence? If he is nominated, he'll join an elite group of just seven others to contend at four consecutive Academy Awards.
Let's take a look back at the last three awards derbies and how Cooper stood before Oscar nominations were announced:
"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012): Cooper was in fourth place in the combined Gold Derby predictions with 8/1 odds for Best Actor. Ahead of him were eventual winner Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables"), and Denzel Washington ("Flight"), who all received Oscar bids. At the precursors, he picked up nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, BAFTA, and Critics Choice as Best Actor.
"American Hustle (2013): Cooper was in the fourth slot again with 10/1 odds in the combined Gold Derby predictions for Best Supporting Actor. Eventual champ Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave"), and Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips") were in front of him, and all of them were ultimately nominees. Among the precursors, he contended at the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Critics Choice but not at the SAG Awards.
"American Sniper" (2014): The late release date did not help Cooper; he was in seventh place with 50/1 odds in the combined Gold Derby predictions for Best Actor. Eventual winner Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything") and nominees Michael Keaton ("Birdman"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game"), and Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher") were all ahead of him as were the snubbed David Oyelowo ("Selma") and Jake Gyllenhaal ("Nightcrawler"). Cooper did not receive a Best Actor bid from the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, BAFTA, or Critics Choice (although that last group did cite him as Best Action Actor).
Cooper's latest collaboration with Russell and Lawrence offers him a meaty supporting role in "Joy" as a QVC executive who takes a chance on the Miracle Mop creator. Could this be his ticket to a fourth consecutive Oscar nomination? He is currently in 16th place with 100/1 odds in our Gold Derby predictions chart for Best Supporting Actor. However, his film has been little seen so his standing could rise in the coming weeks.
If Cooper pulls off a four-peat, it would be the first time in four decades. Below, we recount the win/loss records of those who have already accomplished this.
BETTE DAVIS (5 in a row)
"Jezebel" (1938), Best Actress (WIN)
"Dark Victory" (1939), Best Actress
"The Letter" (1940), Best Actress
"The Little Foxes" (1941), Best Actress
"Now, Voyager" (1942), Best Actress
GREER GARSON (5 in a row)
"Blossoms in the Dust" (1941), Best Actress
"Mrs. Miniver" (1942), Best Actress (WIN)
"Madame Curie" (1943), Best Actress
"Mrs. Parkington" (1944), Best Actress
"The Valley of a Decision" (1945), Best Actress
JENNIFER JONES (4 in a row)
"The Song of Bernadette" (1943), Best Actress (WIN)
"Since You Went Away" (1944), Best Supporting Actress
"Love Letters" (1945), Best Actress
"Duel in the Sun" (1946), Best Actress
THELMA RITTER (4 in a row)
"All About Eve" (1950), Best Supporting Actress
"The Mating Season" (1951), Best Supporting Actress
"With a Song in My Heart" (1952), Best Supporting Actress
"Pickup on South Street" (1953), Best Supporting Actress
MARLON BRANDO (4 in a row)
"A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), Best Actor
"Viva Zapata!" (1952), Best Actor
"Julius Caesar" (1953), Best Actor
"On the Waterfront" (1954), Best Actor (WIN)
ELIZABETH TAYLOR (4 in a row)
"Raintree County" (1957), Best Actress
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958), Best Actress
"Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959), Best Actress
"BUtterfield 8" (1960), Best Actress (WIN)
AL PACINO (4 in a row)
"The Godfather" (1972), Best Supporting Actor
"Serpico" (1973), Best Actor
"The Godfather Part II" (1974), Best Actor
"Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), Best Actor
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Photo Credits: "Silver Linings Playbook" by Snap Stills/REX Shutterstock; "American Hustle" by Snap Stills/REX Shutterstock; "American Sniper" by Moviestore/REX Shutterstock; "Joy" by 20th Century Fox.