Sean Penn wrote an op-ed claiming that ‘A Star Is Born’ should get all the Oscars


Sean Penn at Live Talks LA

If you listened to the fourth Gossip with Celebitchy podcast, you know that CB and I were not fans of A Star Is Born. The problem was, in my case, that I saw the film so late, and I had listened to all the hype. I thought ASIB would be this amazing film full of career-defining performances. The reality is that ASIB is a middling film with a terrible script and okay performances. The script and Bradley Cooper’s direction were the worst parts of the film, and the best parts were Lady Gaga’s performance and the music (not all the music, but most of it). The point I made in the GWC podcast was that ASIB in NO WAY deserved to be the Oscar front-runner at any point. It just came out so early, so it became the “Oscar favorite” for a few months, and then everyone moved on to better films.

There’s another problem with ASIB, or should I say, there’s a problem with ASIB’s Oscar campaign: they don’t have a good argument for why anyone should vote for them. The film isn’t good enough to make the “give ASIB all the Oscars because of the career-defining performances” argument. The film doesn’t have a message besides “toxic alcoholic bro is toxic, alcoholic.” Bradley and Gaga didn’t even have that much chemistry together, so the love story often felt pretty tortured. But not according to Sean Penn, who decided to do his part to campaign for ASIB. This is one of the most random things I’ve ever seen in the midst of an Oscar campaign – Sean Penn, noted author of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, writing a Deadline op-ed about how A Star Is Born should get all the Oscars. You can read the full piece here. Penn argues:

Bradley Cooper has made exceptions to the examples. He’s made a film about us as the flawed contemporary characters we are, and while his artfulness has brought it to moviedom’s Super Bowl, it has done so with none of the conceits voters are likely to lean on in the final tally. Its art neither panders to the politics of the day, nor dazzles with the deceptions so many delight in. It’s the hard-messy stuff of love and life, of dreams and addictions, and yet we, its audience, walk away feeling less alone. In these silly-ass soul damaging times, a film like A Star is Born brings people together without saccharine, sugar, or salesmanship. It is the achievement of one artist who had the courage to stand naked and jump from the edge of a vertical cliff, bringing his whole cast and crew with him, and simultaneously catch their fall. It’s a triumph.

This is what inspires and encourages actors to remember what it is to operate as a character in the real world. To characterize without smoke and mirrors. To deeply move an audience with a human experience, and all that while supporting excellence among an entire cast and crew. Cooper, Gaga and Elliott should own the acting category and the film would do the academy a service.

There are many really good films and performances nominated this year. There are also many perishable trend-pieces that, win or lose, will be lost to memory. In a fair world, A Star is Born sweeps the awards. It’s just such a gift. Clear minds and hearts cannot possibly deny it its due. It’s over and over again one of my favorite films of all time, harkening back to the essential filmmaking of Hal Ashby.

[From Deadline]

The fact that Sean Penn can write, with a presumably straight face, that ASIB is NOT one of those “perishable trend-pieces” is pretty rich. Something struck me as I read Penn’s essay: he loves this movie because ASIB is all about Jackson Maine’s alcoholism and white-bro-angst journey. What could have been a film centered on a female narrative is overtaken by the dude’s journey. And that’s what Penn loves, because he sees himself in Bradley’s work (in about ten different ways).

Clara Lionel Foundations Diamond Ball

Photos courtesy of ASIB, Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

36 Responses to “Sean Penn wrote an op-ed claiming that ‘A Star Is Born’ should get all the Oscars”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Tiffany says:

    White man whose opinion no one asked for says what…….?

    *goes to read Kaiser’s story*

    • xdanix says:

      LITERALLY nobody asked for this. Even the ASIB team didn’t ask for this!

      (Seriously- it didn’t come from them. A writer for Variety says it didn’t come from anyone in the ASIB campaign at all, Penn had been peddling this piece personally around the place for over a WEEK before he got it published by Deadline. I don’t even know if they knew about it- I suspect not, as it promptly drowned out several interviews Bradley Cooper himself did that week that were far better.)

    • horseandhound says:

      okay, this is getting irritating…why are people here writing ‘white man’ or ‘white woman’ in stories that have nothing to do with race? why did you write ‘white man whose opinion no one asked’? why did you mention his race? if idris wrote it, would you say ‘black man whose opinion no one asked’?

  2. Megan2 says:

    “The fact that Sean Penn can write…”

    Can he though? Everything points to no, Sean Penn cannot write.

    • Steff says:

      Omg remember how awful his book was? And his passive aggressive poem taking hits at Me Too? My favorite part was reading the scathing reviews.

    • Mia4s says:

      I was gonna say! “The fact that Sean Penn can write…”? Yeah I’m going to need to stop you right there.

      Oh and remember how Sean Penn allegedly didn’t really care about awards? Hmmmmm. Also I imagine the Academy was presumably insightful and brilliant when he was awarded…but not awarding his friend? Now they’re morons. Clearly. Or maybe they were also morons when they awarded Penn? Hmmmm…😏

      All these awards are such a joke!

    • Raina says:

      He thinks he’s a word whisperer.

  3. Vexa says:

    Can we figure out a way to stop Sean Penn from ever “writing” anything ever again??

  4. MS says:

    Sean needs to STFD. Nobody cares about his opinion on anything these days. He treats women like absolute shit & is the poster boy for toxic masculinity. Just go away!!!

  5. Co says:

    Well narcissism doesn’t just go away, so Sean keeps coming out with these beauts.

  6. minx says:

    It sounded like he was high when he wrote it. Over the top.

  7. Mira says:

    *groans* Shut up, Sean Penn. Just… Shh.

    Also this:
    “Its art neither panders to the politics of the day, nor dazzles with the deceptions so many delight in. ”

    What is he talking about? I hope he’s not subtly dissing BP or Blackkklansman. What is it with Hollywood actors opening their big mouths these days? Nobody asked them to.

  8. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Saccharine is essentially sugar.

    • BeanieBean says:

      *snicker* He’s such a pretentious git. And of course, what he doesn’t understand, is that ‘saccharine’ is usually used as an adjective, which is sort of what he was going for, but he used it here as a noun. Eejit. Who told him he was a writer?

  9. Steff says:

    He must be the most pretentious piece of burnt ham on the planet.

  10. Raina says:

    I want what he’s having
    That’s all.

  11. tifzlan says:

    Ummm if Judy Garland didn’t win for ASIB in 1955, no one should win for ASIB in 2019 SORRY NOT SORRY

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Amen. This movie has been made four times, right? I mean, Bradley Cooper didn’t even have to have anyone write a script! Here is Judy Garland in ASIB singing The Man That Got Away:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzyPMRo8ZUQ

    • Onemoretime says:

      I agree with this 1000%
      The original was a much better movie than this amateur hour! This movie has been remade numerous times and none of the remakes come close to Judy’s portral. Have several seat dude douches’.

  12. Babadook says:

    A writer or film critic he is not. However if I want advice on how to be abusive Hollywood cockroach, I’ll pop him an email.

  13. TheOtherSam says:

    Sean Penn writes a paean to a film about an older, alcoholic mentally ill slightly washed-up established star who finds love with a younger, unknown up-and-coming pop musician who loves fashion and colors her hair; relationship of said couple brings them plenty of publicity, runs the dramatic gamut of peaks & valleys and ends in unavoidable tragedy. hmmm.

    • sid says:

      TheOtherSam, I was legit sitting here thinking he probably loves the movie because the male lead character reminds him of himself. SMH.

  14. Insomniac says:

    My favorite Twitter comment on this was “Well, I guess we know why Sean relates to a movie about someone marrying a young woman whose fame eventually eclipses his.” *snerk*

    Did Cooper make this movie because he really wanted to tell this story or because he thought it would win him a pile of Oscars?

  15. SM says:

    Sorry, I gave up before I got to the end of that except from that op-ed copied in this post. So many words and no point…

  16. Lala11_7 says:

    Sean has starred in movies that OUT OF THE BOX…remain memorable…and haunting…decades later…I will NEVA forget him burning up the scenes back in the 80s in “Fast Times”…or in “Bad Boys”…which was filmed in my hometown of Chicago and a couple of my boys got to star in it as extras…when they filmed around town and in Joliet Prison….

    THIS MOVIE IS NOT THAT!!!!

  17. Keaton says:

    “he loves this movie because ASIB is all about Jackson Maine’s alcoholism and white-bro-angst journey….he sees himself in Bradley’s work (in about ten different ways).”

    YES. This is exactly what I thought when I heard about Penn’s op-ed.
    Random trivia: Years ago I read Lauren Bacall’s autobiography. If I recall correctly she said Bogie was obsessed with the Judy Garland/James Mason version of A Star is Born because he saw himself and Bacall in those characters. She was much younger than Bogie but unlike in the film, her career never eclipsed his career.

    • anony7 says:

      Interesting note about Bogey and Bacall, thanks.

      The early Star is Born (1937) was said to have been based on/inspired by husband and wife thespians Frank Fay (at one time he was very famous in America; he was a well-known vaudeville comedian/stage actor) and Barbara Stanwyck.

      • Keaton says:

        YES! I think I heard that on the “You Must Remember This” podcast @anony7. I am going to miss that pod so much.

  18. Pandy says:

    Bet Sean practices his singing in front of the bathroom mirror … soulfully staring at himself while holding a bottle of mousse as a mic.

  19. Q T Hush says:

    Sean must be a financial backer in This version of ASIB. Hollywood shouldn’t have to do a fourth version of this film. There are many talented writers with original ideas. I’m so sick of the reboots of popular shows and films. Laziness and the desire to make a quick buck is at play in LALA land.

  20. Daphne says:

    Sean Penn is the type of person who thinks he’s really smart, but isn’t.

    I honestly don’t care who wins anything. Im just upset Rami ‘I care more about staying the oscar frontrunner than drugged & r*ped kids’ Malek’s lie is going to pay off.

    He doesn’t deserve anything after such an insultingly blatant lie. I hope he never has children, because somebody that would value an oscar so much where they would do that…yea, screw Malek.

  21. Renee says:

    I loved this version of A Star is Born. I thought the acting, music & their chemistry together was great.