Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Role: Pat Solitano, a man struggling with bipolar disorder who becomes romantically entangled with an enigmatic woman (Jennifer Lawrence) with her own emotional problems.
Oscar History: First nomination.
Throwing out the Playbook: Cooper was both exhilarated and terrified by the prospect of working with director David O. Russell, who employs a fast-paced, improvisational shooting style and likes to push his actors' emotional buttons. ''Being on a David O. Russell set is like an athletic event,'' Cooper says. ''It's very organic, and there's tremendous freedom. He's rewriting on the day. He's yelling lines in. He's right there with you almost like another character in the scene. There's no sort-of-acting it. He wants to capture it happening.''
Shall We Dance? In a parallel to the film's plotline, Cooper and Lawrence forged a close bond as their characters spent hours together preparing for a dance competition. ''The best rehearsal any actors working together could do would be to do a dance routine,'' says Cooper. ''I think that's why the chemistry [between us] is so good.''
Up Next: Cooper stars with Ryan Gosling in the indie drama The Place Beyond the Pines (April 12), then reprises his role as Phil in The Hangover Part III (May 24), the final installment in the men-behaving-badly comedy trilogy. He also reteams with Lawrence for the Depression-era drama Serena, due later this year. Josh Rottenberg