It’s the weekend which many film fans have circled on their calendars with the premiere of Bradley Cooper‘s directorial debut, the fourth edition of “A Star Is Born.” Cooper had worked for years to develop the film, serving as the film’s star (opposite Lady Gaga), director, co-producer, co-writer, and he co-authored two of the film’s songs as well. Cooper, who has worked with some of the finest film directors around, such as Clint Eastwood and David O. Russell, obviously has picked up from them how to incorporate the many elements that go into making a film.
Cooper, who made his feature acting debut in 2001’s “Wet Hot American Summer,” found his stardom grow along with his filmography. He is one of only 10 men who have been nominated for acting Oscars three years in a row (for “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle” and “American Sniper”). He also earned a fourth Academy Award nomination for producing Best Picture nominee “American Sniper.” He won a Screen Actors Guild Award for being part of the ensemble cast of “American Hustle” and was nominated for two more SAG Awards. He also earned two Golden Globe nominations. More may be coming his way.
Cooper looks to be having a very busy autumn. With not only “A Star Is Born” in theaters, Cooper has also been reunited with Eastwood for “The Mule,” which opens in theaters on December 14.
In honor of Cooper’s big year, take a tour of our photo gallery above featuring his 12 greatest films, ranked from worst to best.
12. THE A-TEAM (2010)
In Joe Carnahan‘s reboot of the 1980s television series, Cooper takes over the role of First Lt. Templeton “Face” Peck, one of a quartet of Special Forces operatives who have escaped from prison for a crime they did not commit. They take on undercover assignments in hopes of clearing their names. Lots of things blow up, and it’s all silly fun. And it looks like Cooper is having the most fun of all as Face.
11. HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU (2009)
As part of the large ensemble of this romantic comedy, Cooper portrays married man Ben Gunders who, having marital problems with his wife Janine (Jennifer Aniston), finds himself attracted to aspiring singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson), with whom he begins an affair. Janine eventually learns about Ben’s infidelity, but she is determined to save their marriage. But Ben, continuing his affair with Anna, lies to Janine not only about that but also his promise to give up smoking, which is the last straw for his wife.
10. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001)
Cooper was first noticed by movie audiences in David Wain‘s cult comedy about the antics of a group of counselors at a Maine summer camp in 1981. Cooper plays Ben, the drama co-counselor (along with Amy Poehler‘s Susie), whose job is to produce the camp’s end-of-season talent show. Ben also comes to the romantic attention of fellow counselor McKinley (Michael Ian Black).
9. LIMITLESS (2011)
In this science-fiction thriller, Cooper plays writer Eddie Morra, who, suffering from writer’s block, decides to take a nootropic drug, NZT-48, which is said will allow the user to fully realize all of his brain power. Eddie’s writer’s block disappears, he finishes his book in no time and soon uses his newly-found brain power to corner the stock market, enhancing his wealth and his lifestyle. But Eddie soon learns to be careful what you wish for.
8. JOY (2015)
Cooper was reunited with his “Silver Linings” co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro and that film’s writer/director Russell in this comic biography of real-life mop entrepreneur Joy Mangano (Lawrence) who becomes successful by hawking her product on the television shopping channel QVC. Cooper plays Neil, a QVC executive who is willing to take the chance on the housewife with no on-camera experience who soon becomes a TV sensation.
7. WEDDING CRASHERS (2005)
Cooper’s breakthrough part was as obnoxious hothead Sack Lodge in this Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy. John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn) regularly show up uninvited to strangers’ weddings so as to pick up beautiful women. John has his eye on maid-of-honor Claire (Rachel McAdams) but her jerk of a boyfriend Sack (Cooper) will stop at nothing to keep John away from “his” girl.
6. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (2012)
In Derek Cianfrance‘s crime thriller pits rookie cop Avery Cross (Cooper) against suspected bank robber Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling, in his second film for Gianfrance after “Blue Valentine”). Their confrontation, which results in tragedy, is taken up a generation later when their respective sons threaten to take up their fathers’ clash.
5. THE HANGOVER (2009)
No one would ever mistake “The Hangover” as brilliant cinema, but the film’s success changed the course of Cooper’s career, taking him from being a good-looking supporting actor to full-fledged movie star. Cooper played teacher Phil Wenneck, who is the leader of a group of friends called “The Wolfpack” who travel to Las Vegas for the wedding of their friend Doug, but after a night of drinking, they awaken to find a baby in their closet, a chicken in their living room, and a tiger in their bathroom.
4. THE MARVEL series (2018, 2017, 2014)
Cooper had never been known as a voice actor until 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” in which he voiced Rocket Raccoon, a motion-capture character who is a top marksman and tactician in space. Cooper voiced Rocket as a tough Brooklyn cab driver who is not taking bull from anyone, an attitude he continued in 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Rocket may have met his match, however, in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) consistently refers to Rocket as a rabbit. This does not go down well with Cooper’s volatile raccoon.
3. AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)
Cooper rocked a permed hair-do and a pimped-out wardrobe in Russell’s black comedy based on the ABSCAM scandal of the 1980s. Cooper played Richie DiMaso, an undercover FBI agent who has turned a pair of grifters (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) in an elaborate scheme to bring down the corrupt mayor (Jeremy Renner) of Camden, NJ.
2. AMERICAN SNIPER (2014)
Eastwood’s enormous 2014 hit about the war experiences of marksman Chris Kyle (Cooper) whose success as a sniper in the Iraq War took an enormous toll on his personal and family life. Kyle, a dedicated Navy SEAL takes great pride in his shooting prowess, but Eastwood is just as interested in the family that Kyle has left behind. Cooper earned his third and fourth Academy Award nominations (for Best Actor and Best Picture respectively).
1. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)
While it’s arguable whether Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is Cooper’s best film, I think it is probably his best performance on film. As Pat Solitano, Jr., a man who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital in which he dealt with his bipolar disorder, Cooper managed to incorporate a complex character into the confines of what is essentially a romantic comedy. For his performance as Pat, Cooper earned his first Oscar nomination, his first Golden Globe nod, and his first nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award.