So far the awards season has been a real nail-biter, but Bradley Cooper is holding on to the lead in our predictions for both Best Picture and Best Actor for “A Star is Born.” And he’s second only to Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma“) in our forecasts for Best Director. But we’ve admittedly given him less attention for his writing. If “A Star is Born” really is the film to beat for Best Picture, could we be underestimating Cooper for Best Adapted Screenplay?
Cooper co-wrote this version of the oft-remade “A Star is Born” with Eric Roth and Will Fetters. They’re nominated for Critics’ Choice, Writers Guild and BAFTA Awards for their script, and they currently rank third in our Oscar forecasts with 9/2 odds. One of the Expert journalists we’ve polled, Gold Derby’s own Jack Mathews, is even forecasting their victory. But the current front-runner for Best Adapted Screenplay is “BlacKkKlansman” with 71/20 odds, followed by “If Beale Street Could Talk” with 4/1 odds.
But if “A Star is Born” is in the lead for Best Picture, that alone makes it a strong contender to win for its writing. In the last 10 years only 2 movies have won the top category without claiming their corresponding writing award: “The Artist” (2011) and “The Shape of Water” (2017) — and one of those was a silent movie. In the last decade Best Picture and Best Screenplay have actually correlated more closely than Best Picture and Best Director, where there have been 4 disconnects in the last 10 years.
Alas, the motion picture academy usually isn’t as enthusiastic about the writing in musicals, even when they’re top contenders for Best Picture. “Moulin Rouge!” (2001) wasn’t even nominated for writing. Neither were “Ray” (2004) or “Les Miserables” (2012). “Chicago” (2002) actually won Best Picture, but didn’t win for its script. “La La Land” (2016) came awfully close to winning Best Picture, but its writing didn’t win either.
But the Oscars already love co-writer Roth. He won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Forrest Gump” (1994) and earned additional nominations in that category for “The Insider” (1999), “Munich” (2005) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008). And they’ve also admired actors-turned-writers in the past like champs Emma Thompson for “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for “Good Will Hunting” (1997). So if voters like Cooper once this year, they might like him over and over and over again.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.