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By Julius Barbosa · February 9, 2015
Bradley got a BA in English and an MFA in acting from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York in 2000. Many people may not know, but he launched his career on TV, starting with a small appearance on Sex and the City (1999). It was another TV series, though, that helped him move from New York to Los Angeles when he was cast in Alias (2001), as Will Tippin, opening doors to new projects. He went on to play in TV series such as Touching Evil (2004), Jack & Bobby (2004/05) and Law & Order: SVU (2005), to name a few, before he adventured into new waters and experimented with films.
In retrospect, he’s been working with films for a short period of time (that’s right!), which explains why the list of films he’s been in isn’t too long. However, he has quickly become a well-established actor in Hollywood; and it is not because of those piercing blue eyes. His acting choices vary from charming to comedic to troubled characters. He hasn’t abandoned TV completely as he will be returning to a project in 2015. He’s also rumored to be highly interested in the Director’s chair as well.
10. Wedding Crashers (2005)
On television, Bradley played characters that made him be considered a dramatic actor. Suddenly, playing a spoiled big brat not only changed his acting career, but also his reputation. The hot headed boyfriend he portrayed on the screen made people assume that he was also an, um, “asshole” in real life.
For his first big Hollywood film, Bradley was in second place in the August 2006 issue of GQ as one of “The Top Twelve Movie Dicks.” That’s just how convincing his performance was and how surprising the response from the audience was. The movie became an immediate hit in the box office during the summer season and only helped Bradley solidify his acting career.
9. He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)
Bradley plays a young married man facing troubles in his marriage (but mostly causing them). His marriage is deteriorating and a new girl just so happens to start flirting with him. His character, Ben, deals with serious issues about life but in a superficial way.
That has more to do with the adaptation (which we are NOT endorsing on a whole) than with choosing a new character to perform. Even though Bradley is more part of an ensemble cast, sharing screen time with other big names, he shows he can be featured in a high octane mainstreamer and hold his own.
8. The Hangover (2009)
Welcome to Sin City! With the slogan “Some Guys Just Can’t Handle Vegas,” the movie became an instant hit and gave Bradley international recognition. The idea of a bachelor party in Vegas could go wrong in so many ways, but the screenplay was sharp, fresh and cleverly constructed and the trio performance was right on the money.
Oh, boy, where do I start with this one? Oh, yeah… Phil, Phil, Phil… the high school teacher that Bradley performs. Among the trio, it is hard to say who steals the show. This movie is one of those “love at first sight” cases and one of those comedies that no one will ever get tired of watching. There’s no doubt that he will easily be remembered as one of the guys from “The Hangover.”
7. Valentine’s Day (2010)
He’s back to playing a character he seems to be comfortable with, the tall good looking and naturally seductive man in romantic comedies. In another ensemble cast movie, Holden Wilson (Bradley Cooper) chitchats about love with another passenger on a flight to Los Angeles. Holden seems to have everything going well for him in life. After all, he is also returning home to someone special.
Bradley does a good job of showing us that love, regardless of who it involves, wins in the pitfalls of relationships. Do to the film’s ultra breezy structure we don’t get to see enough of this character, but it is one we thoroughly appreciate – from his value of relationships to his kind heart (referring to the Julia Roberts / car moment here).
6. Limitless (2011)
The ambitious writer Eddie Morra that Bradley Cooper plays is a total loser. Even his girlfriend sees no future in their relationship. Then, he takes a pill, which unlocks 100% of his “brain power” (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?) and makes him learn everything fast. He finishes his book and decides to play big at the stock market, making large returns on small investments.
This role gave Bradley the opportunity to step outside his comfortable skin of romantic comedies and expand his choice of characters with this Dramatic Thriller. On a side note: Things were also going well for Bradley. In 2011, GQ UK presented Cooper with the “International Man of the Year” award and People Magazine named Cooper “The Sexiest Man Alive.”
5. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Bradley stars as Avery Cross, an ambitious police office in a small town, who comes across a bank robber. He shoots the bad guy and gains hero status in town. As a character, his focus was to move up the ranks in the police department. Once he gets there, he learns that the department is severely corrupt.
Pines was an independent production that deserved more recognition (and steam). Bradley looked at this role as an opportunity to show more of his acting. Does he reveal the corruption in the dept. and lose everything he wanted? Does he protect his wife and baby and go on with life, looking the other way? Does he try to solve the corruption his own way? The vulnerability he shows in this character can certainly be empathized.
4. American Sniper (2014)
This movie has caused a lot of controversy in and outside the media. It has become another one of those love or hate cases, mainly because for some, the movie raises the story of Chris Kyle as an American hero. While, on the other side of the fence, others say the real American sniper was a hate-filled killer, an ignorant man who should have educated himself in the first place.
Whatever the case is, to portray this role, Bradley underwent an intensive workout and put on an extra 40 pounds to allow him to more accurately represent Chris Kyle. Another challenge for this role was the accent. Bradley had to get it right or he would’ve simply fallen in the “Southern Accent Trapdoor” that many have fallen through (cough, cough Kevin Spacey in A Time to Kill). All the preparation and sacrifice for this role gave him his second Oscar nomination for a Leading role.
3. American Hustle (2013)
In this dramedy, Bradley plays FBI Agent Richie DiMaso. He is wild and fearless. He wants something done and whatever DiMaso wants, DiMaso gets. And we can’t resist but root for him. It is a dark story told with dark humor.
Despite the fact that the movie leaves plenty of room for reediting (especially the screenplay, with narration making a statement and a character repeating that same statement right away), Bradley seems to just get better and better with every movie. Portraying this hyperactive and petulant agent gave him another nomination at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
In this whopper of a [successful] blockbuster, Bradley plays Rocket, a bounty hunter and mercenary. His challenge was to use his voice to bring to life a raccoon. Also for this role, some physical movement from Cooper, including facial expressions and hand movements, was recorded as potential reference for animators, as Bradley revealed later on in interviews.
The result is a badass character. Bradley has much fun playing this animated character that you can’t tell he’s acting.
1. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Patrick “Pat” Solatano is released from a psychiatric hospital (for beating up his wife’s lover) and starts to live with his parents again. He suffers with bipolar disorder, but everything he does is to try to get his wife back. She means the world to him. Then, boy meets girl. Love changes everything.
In this romantic “dramedy,” Bradley plays Pat who meets another troublemaker, this time a girl. They have many things in common and end up falling in love with each other, but neither of them will admit it. Bradley chose to portray a man who believes he can have his life under control again, but has no idea of the job losses and broken relationships that happened along the way. Pat was a challenging role and, as a result, Bradley got his first Oscars nomination for Best Leading Actor.