What it takes to make an Oscar-nominated movie

NEW YORK -- The stars have been hitting the red carpets throughout Awards Season, which culminates with the Academy Awards.

So what's the talk of the walk ahead of the Oscars? How about the movie that got you there?

"Once I finished the movie, I loved the movie, and I felt really proud of it," said Bradley Cooper, who co-wrote, directed and starred in A Star is Born. "And I just hoped that even if people didn't like it, I would still feel the accomplishment that I felt, that I set out to do what I wanted to do."

Cooper's vocal ability was one element that came as a shock to many.

"The first time I heard him sing and heard the way that he talked about music, and the way that he talked about telling this story, I just knew that he could play a rock star," co-star Lady Gaga said. "I knew that he could shoot music and the industry in a way that was true and real."

And it seems everyone associated with the film was proud of its authenticity and the professional manner in which it was made.

"It's a wonderful thing to do really good work, which obviously there's a lot of in this film," actor Sam Elliott said. "It's another thing to work with the people you get to work with along the way. Bradley and (Lady Gaga) Stefani (Joanne Angelina Germanotta) were about as good as it gets."

If Beale Street Could Talk is based on a novel by James Baldwin, set in the 1970s during a troubled time in New York City. The two protagonists are planning to get married until one of them is falsely accused of a crime and sent to prison to await trial.

The Baldwin family spoke positively about the film, which hit home for director Barry Jenkins.

"They were the most meaningful, to be sure," he said. "When the estate said they could feel James Baldwin in the film, that meant everything. Because the whole point was to preserve his energy, his voice, his spirit, from the page to the screen."

Black Panther proved to be a revelation among superhero movies, and it's also an awards show darling this season.

"When I read the screenplay, I thought, this is an affirmation," Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan F. Horn said. "This is an idealistic place. There is no Wakanda in Africa, but if there were, I want to go there. Because there's integrity. There's honesty. They're all smart. They're even good looking. And I thought, what an aspirational place to be."

As far as documentaries go, RBG offered a glimpse into the fascinating life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"I think the moment when we were in the gym with Justice Ginsburg watching her do her workout routine was a moment I thought, 'Oh my goodness, we have something fantastic here,'" co-director Betsy West said.

The Oscar-nominated film is a tribute to an 85-year-old liberal icon who is a role model for younger generations.

"Little 8- and 9-year-old girls started showing up to our film wearing robes, glasses and carrying gavels like Justice Ginsburg," co-director Julie Cohen said. "We felt like, wow, people really connect with Justice Ginsburg and her story."

Then there's Green Book, the based-on-real-life tale of legendary pianist Dr. Don Shirley and his tour driver.

The musician is played by Mahershala Ali and his driver by Viggo Mortensen.

"I was born in New York City, but this is the first time I've had the honor of playing someone from this great city," Mortensen said. "I've never played a New Yorker before. That being said, when I read the script, I knew it was great. But I said to (director) Pete Farrelly, I said, 'You're crazy. I'm not Italian-American. I mean, it's like, there are some pretty good Italian-American actors out there. And a lot of them live in this city. What are you doing?' And he said, 'Nah, I'm convinced you can do it.' Anyway, I'm glad I wasn't a coward and I accepted the challenge, because I had such a good time and I have a lot of new good friends now."

They need a green guidebook to figure out where an African-American man can eat and sleep in the Deep South half a century ago, and the film restores faith in humanity. As one character says, "It takes courage to change people's hearts."

RELATED: Everything to know about Oscars 2019

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