Eye on the Oscar: The Actor - Best Actor Contenders

Given that Bradley Cooper’s favorite actor is Daniel Day-Lewis, one would think he would be ecstatic to be mentioned in the same breath as the two-time Oscar winner during the year-end awards races.

Cooper is being talked up for his revelatory work in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” while Day-Lewis is being put on a pedestal for his brilliance as “Lincoln.” But Cooper downplays any kudos buzz.

“One thing I learned early on is, hype is what it is,” he says. “I was in a series called ‘Kitchen Confidential,’ and people were telling me, ‘Get ready for your life to change. You’re going to win an Emmy Award.’ The series lasted three episodes.”

In “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper stars as Pat, who returns to his parents’ Philadelphia home after a stint in a mental institution. Though he repeatedly insists that he’s recovered, Pat’s manic, panicked eyes reveal that he’s anything but.

Cooper, best known for parts accentuating his charisma and wit, admits the role is new territory for him.

“David showed me the script months prior to asking me to do it, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is great but I don’t think I’ll get this, and I’m probably not right for it,’ ” he recalls. “I was terrified. I had never done that on film before.”

He credits co-star Robert De Niro, who plays his father, for instilling in him the necessary confidence.

“I learned that he championed me to get the role,” Cooper says. “I confided in him my fear, and he pointed out that I had a lot in common with the character. I’m an Italian-Irish guy from Philly. We really clicked, and it was the most fun experience I’ve had. We shot for 33 days, and I found Pat while I was on camera.”

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