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VIDEO: SBIFF Honoring Bradley Cooper with the Outstanding
Performer Of The Year Award
Rick W
/ Categories: Film Score News

VIDEO: SBIFF Honoring Bradley Cooper with the Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award

Honoree Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, and Brad Pitt pose with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

Bradley Cooper was honored on Thursday, February 8, 2024 for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO from Netflix.


Bradley Cooper, born in Philadelphia, is an acclaimed actor, filmmaker, writer, and producer. A nine-time Oscar nominee, Grammy winner, and Tony nominee, Cooper’s directorial debut A STAR IS BORN, which he co-wrote, produced, starred and directed garnered 8 Oscar nominations. Following the success of his producorial work, Cooper started his production company Lea Pictures in 2020, which includes his much-anticipated film MAESTRO.


“Nine-time Oscar® nominee Bradley Cooper has proven to be an actor of incredible range and versatility.  What has impressed me the most is that he has grown to be one of the most indelible directing voices .  He’s a renaissance man - an outstanding performer indeed!” SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling noted.


MAESTRO is a towering and fearless love story chronicling the lifelong relationship between Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. A love letter to life and art, MAESTRO at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love.

The Outstanding Performer of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film. Past recipients of the award include Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Sacha Baron Cohen, Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF

When accepting his award, Bradley Cooper stated: “People made movies, I watched them, they changed me, inspired me, kept me alive. Now that I get to do these things, the thing I benefit from is the doing. Seeing these projects that I've been a part of, these memories, magical made up stories, it’s such a privilege. In life, I’ve been so privileged, so blessed.”



  • After coming onstage, Bradley Cooper said: “I just have to give it up to Roger Durling and what he just did. This is incredible Roger, very unorthodox. It’s very Leonard Bernstein.”
  • Bradley Cooper shared: “I auditioned for it [Sex and the City]. At that time, I didn’t even realize you could get the job. I remember when I got the call to do it, I was terrified. What do you mean I have to do it?”
  • On whether he always wanted to be an actor, Bradley Cooper stated: “Always, since I was like 11. There was a movie theater, my backyard was train tracks and a movie theater. I watched movies like The Godfather, Popeye, and I just knew then. and television. I always knew I wanted to do it, but I was terrified, I was shy. But I knew I wanted to do it.”
  • Bradley Cooper said: “We didn’t know what we were making, and weren’t even sure if it was a comedy. We were staying at Caesars Palace in Vegas. I had tiger claws on my neck and no one even looked at us.”
  • Bradley Cooper shared: “I don’t know if you need to have empathy [to play a character], and I can only speak for myself, but you have to get to a place where it doesn’t feel like acting. You have to believe what you’re saying. I don’t know if it’s empathy, or that you have to love your character.”
  • Bradley Cooper stated: “Good things, you gotta hold onto them, because there’s so much rejection in this business.”
  • Bradley Cooper said: “I really do love being in the field as an Actor/Director. It’s what’s intoxicating about it. I would also do the other, but I love acting so much. Absolutely, I would just direct. It’s like you said, just something I love so much.”
  • While discussing A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper shared: “I had no desire to sing live on network television, but I knew if I didn’t sing, they would be like ‘well that guy obviously can’t sing because he isn’t doing it.’ but it was awesome.”
  • When coming onstage to speak about Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan said: “This is so nice, I am just having the loveliest evening. It makes me want to watch all of your films again.”
  • Carey Mulligan stated: “What might be too easily taken for granted is your innate gift as an actor. I don’t think acting is a 10,000 hour skill. I don’t think you can prep or practice, that’s something else.”
  • On the Bernstein family’s support of Maestro, Bradley Cooper stated: “Oh, no question. They’re tough cookies too, they don’t pull any punches at all. They’re like what I assume their father would be like, their mother too.”
  • Regarding how he came to direct Maestro, Bradley Cooper said: “That’s what these projects start to feel like. If I’m calm and open, they’ll tell me what I’m supposed to do.”
  • Brad Pitt joked: “The first time I saw Bradley, I said to myself, one day I’m going to milk this guy for a free trip to Santa Barbara. I want to note for the record, I was this close to getting A Star is Born, but in the end the director went with Bradley.”


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