Chris Cooper celebrates his 69th birthday on July 9, 2020. The Oscar-winning actor has leant his laconic, folksy presence to dozens of movies, many of which have become modern classics. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look back at 15 of his greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1951 in Kansas City, Missouri, Cooper cut his teeth in theater before making his film debut at the age of 36 with a lead role in John Sayles‘ “Matewan” (1987). The movie kicked off a decades long collaboration between the actor and director, with the two pairing up for such titles as “City of Hope” (1991), “Lone Star” (1996), “Silver City” (2004) and “Amigo” (2010).
He hit the Oscar jackpot with his supporting turn in Spike Jonze‘s “Adaptation” (2002), a self-reflective comedy about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman‘s (Nicolas Cage) struggles to adapt Susan Orlean‘s (Meryl Streep) nonfiction book “The Orchid Thief.” Cooper played John Laroche, the eccentric, swampy horticulturalist at the center of Orlean’s story. The role brought him additional victories at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice awards, plus nominations at SAG and BAFTA.
Cooper earned additional SAG bids as Best Supporting Actor for “American Beauty” (1999) and “Seabiscuit” (2003). He reaped Ensemble nominations for “Adaptation,” “Seabiscuit,” “Capote” (2005) and “August: Osage County” (2013), plus a victory for “American Beauty.” Additionally, he contended at the Independent Spirit Awards as Best Actor for “Lone Star.” On the TV side, he competed at the Emmys for his supporting turn in “My House in Umbria” (2003).
Tour through our photo gallery of Cooper’s 15 greatest films, including some of the titles listed above, as well as “October Sky” (1999), “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “Breach” (2007) and more.