The actor, 49, attended the award ceremony at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, January 7, with his mother, Gloria Campano. He rocked a double breasted black tux while Campano donned a black dress with lace bodice, a cropped jacket and blue aviator-style shades.
Cooper is nominated for two awards this year: Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama and Best Director — Motion Picture for his Leonard Bernstein biopic, Maestro. (This would mark his first-ever win at the Golden Globes.)
The film centers around the complicated relationship between the famous American composer and his wife, Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). Bernstein was the musical director for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1958 to 1969. He died of a heart attack the same month that he retired from conducting in October 1990.
In addition to Cooper and Mulligan, 38, Maestro stars Matt Bomer as musician David Oppenheim, Maya Hawke as Jamie, Sam Nivola as Alexander and Alexa Swinton as Nina.
The movie has certainly been a labor of love for Cooper. Ahead of filming, the Oscar winner spent several years learning how to conduct for a scene where he recreated Bernstein conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at the Ely Cathedral in 1976.
“That scene I was so worried about because we did it live,” he admitted during a conversation moderated by Lin-Manuel Miranda after a screening of the movie in New York City in November 2023. “That was the London Symphony Orchestra. I was recorded live. I had to conduct them. And I spent six years learning how to conduct six minutes and 21 seconds of music.”
Maestro has been in development for five years with Steven Spielberg originally set to direct. However, after Spielberg, 77, saw Cooper direct A Star Is Born, he decided that the actor was better fit for the job. (Spielberg ultimately coproduced the film with Cooper, Martin Scorsese and others.)
While appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in January 2022, Cooper recalled the moment Spielberg handed him the reigns as director.
“I’ll never forget this. He came, we were sitting there and I’m showing him A Star Is Born and he’s all the way on the other side on the front row, it’s a pretty huge screen,” Cooper said. “He gets up and I’m like, ‘Oh he’s going to the bathroom now?’ and I was like, ‘That’s it, it’s over. If he’s going to the bathroom at this point in the movie … and he gets up, he walks over, and I’m putting my head down and the next thing I know I feel his face here and he says, because it’s loud, ‘You’re f—ing directing Maestro!”
The film has also been the center of controversy in recent months, with Cooper sparking backlash for his decision to wear a prosthetic nose mimicking the late Jewish musician.
When the trailer for the film was released in August 2023, some viewers accused Cooper, who is not Jewish, of antisemitism. In response to the criticism, Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein, released a statement defending Cooper’s decision, saying that they were “perfectly fine” with the choice.
“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father. We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts,” they wrote in a statement.
The actor also defended his decision and offered an explanation as to why he wore a prosthetic nose.
“My nose is very similar to Lenny’s actually, and so, the prosthetic is actually, like, a silk sheet,” Cooper said during an interview on CBS Mornings in November 2023. “And I thought, ‘Maybe we don’t need to do it because we could take down time of prep, but it’s all about balance.”
He continued: “When he’s young, we had a prosthetic [around my nose] and then it just moves out so by the time he’s older, it’s the whole face. So, we just had to do it, otherwise I wouldn’t believe he’s a human being.”