There’s a handful of actors whose films you’re eager to watch even before you know the plot. One such is Bradley Cooper. Since his career kicked off in 2001, he’s taken on a plethora of roles, from love interests, to hungover alpha males, to mental-health patients, to rock stars.
The latest addition to his collection: A Star Is Born, for which he’s been nominated Best Actor at this weekend’s Oscars. Following his previous seven nominations, there’s a lot of people who think it could be his turn to score the award. And now it’s time to take a refresher course in Bradley’s best movies.
Apparently, there’s no limit to Cooper’s cinematic talents. Limitless is the 2011 feature that follows struggling writer Eddie Morra. Upon discovering a newly marketed drug that triggers a total enhancement of mental acuity, success starts to pour in for the New York-based creative, branching out from words to numbers to world domination. But as you’d expect, there’s a few side effects. For an insight into the effects of addiction – from euphoria to brutality – it’s well worth a watch.
Cooper plays a lethal US Navy SEAL in this one. It’s a spectacular performance, which is helped by the direction by Clint Eastwood. American Sniper follows Chris Kale, who’s sent to Iraq on a mission of protection. His uncontested skills earn him a reputation as a deadly marksman, but that serves to trigger more threats to his life. As enemies close in and death becomes a greater possibility, Kale has to face the most harrowing duties in history. This war drama is actually biographical and Cooper does well to honour the memoir of its leading man.
Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make a perfect pair in Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper plays Pat Solatano, a recovering mental-health patient who returns home with a desire to win back his wife. But rebuilding his life actually begins when he meets Tiffany (played by Lawrence) and the two embark on a programme of discovery through dance class – just watch the film and you’ll get it. Balancing a study of human relationships with a look at health and love, this film is necessary for those searching for a reminder of what to prioritise for the strongest chance of fulfilment.
Cooper and Lawrence were so applauded in Silver Linings Playbook that they reunited the following hear to join a star-studded cast in American Hustle. Even better, the film was a five-star success. The genre is crime, the topic is loan sharks and the insight into political corruption is stylish and brilliant. Cooper acts as the movie’s leading FBI agent, who forces a couple of con artists into a sting operation. It received a staggering ten Oscar nominations following its release – including Best Supporting Actor for Cooper. In the mood for a real drama? Give this a watch.
Cooper and Clint Eastwood worked together more than once, and for good reason: they make movie magic together. The Mule actually stars Eastwood as a lonely 90-year-old who somehow ends up accepting a job as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. Cooper’s clearly into those agent roles, signing up to play Colin Bates, a DEA agent who views the pensioner with hatred and heartbreak. For those looking for a challenging night’s viewing, this won’t disappoint.
If you haven’t seen The Hangover, where have you been? A defining point in Cooper’s career, it’s a brilliant Hollywood comedy – following the shocking-but-hilarious consequences of four men who take a stag-do a bit too far. Honestly, hangover is an understatement for the title of this film. Bound to entertain, you’ll likely be able to relate – although hopefully not to the fullest extent. The greatest lesson: don’t take that extra shot in the early hours. You’ll live to regret it.
The Place Beyond The Pines
We all love a fast-paced thriller, especially when it stars Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling. The Place Beyond The Pines follows the consequences for a motorcycle rider after he turns to crime to support his family. Cooper takes on an authoritarian role again, playing policeman Avery who’s quick to hit the crime scene. What he doesn’t anticipate is the crazy collision course he’ll soon be stuck on with the criminal. Continually tense and complex, you’ll be on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
A Star Is Born
Let’s be honest, Cooper’s latest film has really been a highlight in his career. In case you haven’t yet seen (or heard) it, Bradley plays Jackson Maine, a seasoned musician who’s struggling to keep up with the harsh pressures of the spotlight. It’s then that he meets Ally – Lady Gaga’s debut cinematic role – and the two embark on an intense relationship full of love and creativity. The film has scored seven nominations at the Oscars this weekend, so we advise watching if you want to brush up on this year’s event. It’s worth it to see why Cooper earned another acting nomination – his performance is compelling and tragic all at once.