Just this week, Cooper was nominated by the Directors Guild of America and on Tuesday evening, he was honored by the National Board of Review with the best director award.
“It’s overwhelming,” Cooper told Variety of the recognition. “You take a risk. Even more scary, you ask a bunch of people to come risk with you, so that pressure is kind of overwhelming. To be able to make something and it’s being received the way it is, is really wonderful.”
Speaking to Variety at the National Board of Review annual awards gala in New York on Tuesday night, Cooper said he was happy to see his industry friends win awards in his categories at this year’s Golden Globes. (“A Star Is Born” lost out to “Bohemian Rhapsody” for best drama motion picture, and Cooper was nominated for best actor and best director, which went to “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Rami Malek and “Roma’s” Alfonso Cuaron, respectively.)
“I was so proud of Graham King,” he said of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer, who was up on stage at the Globes for the best picture win. “I’ve known him for years. I know how hard he’s worked to get that movie made, and to see him up there being able to talk about it with the gratitude that he had, it was beautiful.”
Cooper is still knee-deep in the awards season trail for “A Star Is Born,” leading up to the Oscars — but has he selected his next project that he’ll direct? Cooper says yes. When asked to give details on that project, Cooper laughed, “No.”
However, he did offer up a big detail: He will star in the next project he directs, like he did in “A Star Is Born.”
“I think I’ll be acting in it, yeah,” Cooper revealed. “I love the two together. I really do,” he said of acting and directing simultaneously.
“I’d say with this one, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure that I just put on myself because I just want to grow and get better,” Cooper said, admitting there will be an added challenge in following up “A Star Is Born.” He added, “Luckily, I feel something — a story I want to tell — so once that happens, I can’t avoid it. I have to go for it.”
As for the Globes, although many people thought a “A Star Is Born” was snubbed across the boards, the film did win for best original song for “Shallow.” Cooper says that the first thing he said to Lady Gaga after she accepted the award at the ceremony was, “Let’s eat!”
Later in the night, Steven Spielberg presented Bradley Cooper with his best director award on stage with a glowing introduction. Spielberg, who said he’s been a fan of Cooper’s since his days on “Alias,” and heralded him as one of the industry’s next great directors.
“Cooper refused to compromise,” Spielberg said of his perseverance in getting “A Star Is Born” made from getting the best script to the best actress for the lead role. “He wanted it all, and he wanted it all on his first time at bat…where that ball will land, nobody knows.”
Spielberg added, “He’s not just directing the heck out of it, but he’s delivering one of the finest performances of his entire career.” With a laugh, Spielberg cracked, “Bradley wears many hats…at least he’s not good looking.”
When Cooper came up on stage, clearly in awe of getting Spielberg’s rave stamp of approval, he said, “Thank you Steven, I can’t believe I get to call you Steven.”
Watch Bradley Cooper’s full interview above.