For most contenders, the road to the Oscar is strewn with speedbumps and potholes. The graph vacillates wildly, peaking after good reviews or buzzy publicity, troughing as sex scandals come to light or a key Tweeter clocks some questionable politics in the plot.
The path of A Star is Born has been striking for the consistency of its gradient: downhill all the way. After premiering to swoons at Venice last August, it’s gone from bet-your-granny lock to total no-hoper, without so much of a cameo as underdog.
Blips - Way - None - Bradley - Cooper
How? There have been no blips along the way. None of Bradley Cooper or Lady Gaga’s feet have gone amiss. Rather, both stars have spent six months love-bombing each other with on-brand precision. Cooper still seems shocked by the quality of Gaga’s pipes, just like his character in the film. Gaga - 27m albums sold, and 146m singles - remains so in thrall to her grizzly movie mentor she sat at his feet in supplication when he joined her for a singsong at her sellout Vegas residency.
A Star is Born’s undoing is what would, until recently, have been its deal-sealer: its main subject is showbiz. Hollywood used to like nothing better than a film which prizes entertainment industry talent above all else (plus, as a fourth remake, its very existence is part of folklore).
Today - Disengagement - World - Awards - Voters
But today, disengagement with the world around is fatal. Awards voters are under pressure to prove their cultural sensitivity - and A Star is Born is the only movie on the list which cannot easily tether itself to a social bandwagon.
Conceived pre-Trump, shot two years ago, A Star is Born exists in a political vacuum and fills it with feels. It stands as a relic to an age when a soapy wallow was sufficient. But these are tougher times, and you can’t...
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