‘A Star is Born’: Will Lady Gaga break the Oscar curse?


Bradley Cooper‘s remake of “A Star is Born” has reaped bids with 12 of the 13 guilds that hand out awards but has yet to win with any of the six heard from so far. Cooper was widely expected to take home the Best First-Time Director prize at the DGA Awards on Feb. 2 but he lost that race to Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”). Is this losing streak a sign of things to come at the Academy Awards where it contends in eight categories?

It could well be. There is an Oscar curse on this classic tale of Hollywood. In all, the first three versions of “A Star is Born” earned 17 nominations but won just two. The original 1937 film claimed the screenplay award while the 1976 musical remake won Best Original Song (“Evergreen”) for its leading lady, Barbra Streisand. She was the first female composer to win this Oscar; Lady Gaga would be the 11th should she win for “Shallow.”

1937 version
This drama and was a retelling of the 1932 hit “What Price Hollywood.” Two Oscar winners — Fredric March and Janet Gaynor — played fading matinee idol Norman Maine and newcomer Esther Blodgett. It earned seven Oscar nominations and won Best Original Story. Here is what it lost to in each of the other six races:

Best Picture – lost to “The Life of Emile Zola”
Best Director – William Wellman lost to Leo McCarey (“The Awful Truth “)
Best Actor – March lost to Spencer Tracy (“Captains Courageous”)
Best Actress – Gaynor lost to Luise Rainer (“The Good Earth”)
Best Adaptation – lost to “The Life of Emile Zola”
Best Assistant Director – Eric G. Stacey lost to Robert Webb (“In Old Chicago”)

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1954 version
After Judy Garland played the part of Esther on the radio, her husband Sid Luft produced this lavish musical remake. George Cukor, who had helmed “What Price Hollywood,” directed Garland andwith James Mason to the best performances of their careers. The film earned six Oscar nominations but was shut out. Here are the results of those six races:

Best Actor – Mason lost to Marlon Brando (“On the Waterfront”)
Best Actress – Garland lost to Grace Kelly (“The Country Girl”)
Best Art Direction (Color) – lost to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”
Best Costume Design (Color) – lost to “Gate of Hell”
Best Original Song – “The Man That Got Away” lost to “Three Coins in the Fountain” from the film of the same name
Best Score – lost to “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”

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1976 version
Streisand and her boyfriend Jon Peters moved the story to the world of rock music. She played Esther Hoffman while Kris Kristofferson was the fading star John Norman Howard. It reaped four below-the-line bids, with Streisand and lyricist Paul Williams the only winners.

Best Cinematography – lost to “Bound for Glory”
Best Song Score – lost to “Bound for Glory”
Best Sound – lost to “All the President’s Men”

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