After its debut at the Venice Movie Festival, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro the Leonard Bernstein biographical movie both directed by and starring Cooper, is set for its anticipated screening at the New York Movie Festival. The Netflix contender for the awards season is gradually building momentum.
Prior to its New York premiere, a select group, including journalists and the Bernstein family’s close associates, were invited to an exclusive screening at Los Angeles’ Academy Museum. The composer’s daughters, Jamie and Nina Maria Felicia Bernstein, initiated the evening, which also featured a discussion with key members of the production team such as Kristie Macosko Krieger and sound mixer Steven Morrow.
The movie, spotlighting decades of Bernstein’s musical and educational contributions while married to Felicia Montealegre (portrayed by Carey Mulligan), offers an in-depth look at the couple’s complex relationship. Mulligan’s performance, notably a powerful scene at a Thanksgiving parade, showcases her dramatic prowess, with speculation about her possible nomination in the leading actress category.
The movie’s awards team has yet to finalize Mulligan’s category, though leading actress consideration is presumed. Given the competition in the lead actress category, a supporting role nomination could be a strategic move, albeit her chances are still uncertain among strong contenders.
The discussion around category placement, often blurring the lines between leading and supporting roles, continues to be a contentious issue in the awards space. Cooper and writer Josh Singer’s script centres on Bernstein as the pivotal character around whom others’ lives and emotions orbit, providing a unique focus for a biopic.
Mulligan’s role is crucial to the emotional depth of Maestro, complemented by Cooper’s captivating portrayal of Bernstein. Cooper’s embodiment of the character draws parallels with memorable Oscar-winning performances like those of Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker.
The director-actor dual role is a challenging one, with only Laurence Olivier and Roberto Benigni winning Oscars for both directing and acting in the past. Cooper, with nine nominations to his name over the past ten years, four of them for acting, has demonstrated his readiness for recognition. His detailed representation of Bernstein, especially in a six-minute conducting sequence, may prove pivotal for an award.
However, the best actor race is also competitive, with contenders like Colman Domingo, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti, and Cillian Murphy vying for the prize. Cooper’s prospects are closely tied to the reception of Maestro in upcoming screenings.
Furthermore, Maestro marks significant progress for Cooper as a filmmaker, showcasing his mastery in blending musical elements with a documentary style to depict the life of Bernstein. His direction, along with potential recognition for production design, costumes, cinematography, editing, and sound, places the movie as a strong awards season contender. Despite challenges faced by actors turned directors, the involvement of iconic directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese as producers may bolster the movie’s chances.
With impressive makeup work by Kazo Hiro and a performance that may win over various Academy branches, Netflix’s Maestro stands as a serious contender for Best Picture, although its ultimate fate remains uncertain. Source