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Actor Bradley Cooper is facing allegations of “Jewface” after the release of the trailer for his upcoming biopic film “Maestro,” where he plays the role of renowned Jewish conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. The 48-year-old actor, who is not of Jewish descent, has been accused on social media of perpetuating antisemitic stereotypes by using an exaggerated prosthetic nose in his portrayal, one that noticeably deviates from Bernstein’s actual appearance. We explain the jewface controversy here.
What does Tracy-Ann Oberman say?
Jewish British actress Tracy-Ann Oberman has joined the chorus of critics, likening this incident to the controversial practices of Black-Face and Yellow-Face. Oberman emphasized that if Bradley Cooper was to portray Bernstein over a Jewish actor, his performance should ideally shine through without the need for prosthetics.
She also noted that Bradley Cooper previously portrayed the Elephant Man without any prosthetics, raising questions about the necessity of using such props when portraying a Jewish character.
Jewface controversy has ignited a heated debate, with critics and the public taking to social media platforms to accuse Cooper of engaging in a practice reminiscent of “Jewface,” drawing unsettling parallels with the historical issue of blackface.
Many argue that Cooper’s decision to wear a prominently large prosthetic nose perpetuates stereotypes. It also adds to Hollywood’s ongoing struggle with authentic portrayals of Jewish characters.
More about the controversy:
In “Maestro,” set to premiere on Netflix on December 20, Bradley Cooper undertakes the role of Leonard Bernstein. He delves into the composer’s multifaceted career and tumultuous personal life. The film also features notable actors such as Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Strong, and Maya Hawke. Steven Spielberg serves as a producer.
The controversy surrounding Cooper’s portrayal of Bernstein underscores a broader debate within the entertainment industry about cultural authenticity and representation. While non-Jewish actors have previously portrayed Jewish figures on screen, Cooper’s conspicuous use of prosthetics has drawn sharp criticism online.
Critics argue that his decision not only lacks authenticity but also perpetuates stereotypes about Jewish individuals. According to them, it contributes to the long-standing issue of stereotypical portrayals in Hollywood.
As the release date for “Maestro” approaches, the conversation around Cooper’s portrayal continues to unfold. It sheds light on the complexities of casting, authenticity, and cultural sensitivity in the world of film and entertainment.