The critics loved the latest version of A Star Is Born, and so did the audience, so it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the film found itself nominated for eight Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Lady Gaga) and Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott). One big surprise was that Bradley wasn’t nominated for directing, but that’s neither here nor there in this instance. All in all, there’s been a lot of love directed towards the film.
Sam, 74, is certainly feeling that love, though his initial public response about the nomination was pretty funny: “I think the thing off the top of my head might be, ‘It’s about f–king time.'”
Don’t worry, though, because political correctness kicked almost immediately after, with him adding, “Beyond that, it’s really about the work; it’s just about the creative process. It’s great to be recognized for that, that’s really all it’s about.”
Sam began honing that creative process in 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (one of numerous Classic Movies that are celebrating 50th anniversaries in 2019), followed by some TV guest-starring roles and TV movies, but really caught people’s attention with The Lifeguard (1976) and he’s been bouncing back and forth between the two mediums ever since. But, obviously, he’s had a tremendous impact on today’s moviegoers with his portrayal of Bobby Maine, older brother to Bradley’s Jack as well as his manager, in A Star Is Born.
Bradley, who also wrote the screenplay, has said of the project: “I wrote the whole part for Sam. In fact, if he didn’t play it, I would’ve been in real trouble, because I really wanted to see him play a character that was filled with resentment as opposed to somebody filled with wisdom, and he was able to walk that fine line in such a beautiful way — to play a man filled with love and resentment throughout the whole movie.”
Added Sam, “Bradley is one of the good guys in this business. I’ve always suspected that, and early on in our first encounter, I knew that I was right. He was engaging, gracious and direct, and he had me from the start. We talked about work, we talked about our moms and we talked about his vision of A Star Is Born, and how I might fit into that. It’s all about the work with Bradley. Getting at the truth. Being honest. He’s a collaborator, he’s generous and you can trust him. You just want to give it to him, because he is simply such a good guy.”
In his statement regarding the film, Sam noted, “I’m so grateful to be a part of it. It’s meant everything to me. It’s been some sort of a gift in my world on a personal level. I think my biggest takeaway is just how fortunate I am. Number one, to still be in the game, but to have an opportunity to work with two people like Bradley and Stefani [Lady Gaga], it’s just extraordinary. Fifty years into the game and all of a sudden to have anything to do with this, to be connected with a film like this, it’s just a wonderful gift.”
The 91st annual Oscars airs on Sunday, February 24, on ABC at 8:00 p.m. EST.