Actor gets nose-job is today’s top music news

Actor gets nose-job is today’s top music news


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2023

The Hollywood actor Bradley Cooper has been attacked for performing in ‘Jewface’ when portraying Leonard Bernstein in a forthcoming biopic of the conductor.

Cooper, who is not Jewish, is seen wearing an enlarged nose in the film trailer while Mahler’s Adagietto surges down below.

Bernstein’s three children have been so upset by the criticism that they have issued several statements in supports of the actor: ‘It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts … Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.’

No-one has yet mentioned how ridicullously slow that Adagietto is played. Lenny was relatively crisp.


  • Novagerio says:

    “Jewface”, that’s the word they use to fight antisemitism now. The world is insane.

    P.S: Check Bill Maher/casting directors on the Tube. It’s a blast!

  • Larry L. Lash says:

    Can we all please sign a petition to ban the Mahler V. adagietto from use in mass media? Visconti turned it into elevator music (“Death in Venice”), and more recently it was smeared all over the place by “TÁR” (their caps, not mine), and now “Maestro”, already being talked about as Oscar bait? Maybe if someone used a recording of it at something approaching the tempo Mahler wanted (around seven minutes, NOT 12)…

    I met Lenny once, late in his life. His nose was invisible due to the high concentration of cigarette smoke streaming forth.

  • AD says:

    How refreshing to see someone, who actually might be directly affected by the matter, being NOT offended, for once, and ‘perfectly fine’ with it.
    Kudos to Bernstein’s children to dismiss this issue for what really is: an attempt to create polemics where there should be none.

    Besides, for me, 11 minutes (Bernstein’ Wiener/DG) is hardly “crisp’.

    • Giusitizia says:

      Bernstein and other later conductors havelong misrepresented Mahler’s love letter to Alma. It is NOT and never was a funeral march or lamentation. Mengelberg and Walter who knew Mahler well knew how it should go @ c. 8 minutes.
      Oh, and those polemics? Faux outrage is very profitable these days.

  • gareth says:

    I don’t have issues with prosthetics being used to help an actor resemble the person they’re portraying, provided they’re faithful to the original. I don’t recall Bernstein’s nose being remotely as prominent or as pointy as that.

    • Nick2 says:

      Totally agree. The shape of the prosthetic nose is nothing like that of Bernstein. Utterly stupid!

      • David K. Nelson says:

        The irony is that it DOES look a bit like William F Buckley’s nose. Perhaps in an effort to cut costs they paid for one nose to re-use in a Buckley bio-pic.

    • Craig says:

      Bernstein’s nose most certainly was not that prominent. I assume they just overdid it to compensate for other facial features that do not resemble Bernstein that were unable to be altered by prosthetics.

  • zayin says:

    Those who never got why Blackface and Yellowface are offensive have a better idea now with Jewface.

    It’s not that Bernstein didn’t have a big nose, it was well proportioned and a pleasing nose, not this isosceles triangle sticking out of Cooper’s face, just as Blacks are dark but not shoe-polish dark, etc

    Oppenheimer had a good prominent nose, but Cillian Murphy didn’t feel the need to don a prosthetic to play him.

    Because once an actor starts donning prosthetics to look “authentic”, it just opens up the whole can of worms about racial/ethnic representation.

    Speaking of Oppenheimer, will there be appetite this winter for Bernstein the movie, with or without the nose? I never figured out who the targeted demographic is supposed to be.

    • drummerman says:

      I had the same question. Interesting how so many people say that classical music is “dead” but in the past year or two Hollywood has given us “Tar,” “Chevalier” and now this.

  • MMcGrath says:

    Is this April 1st and an April Fool’s Joke? Who in his right mind does a make-up nose-job on an actor playing a Jewish conductor so that he “looks Jewish?” It just beggars the imagination to think of the ignorance or naivete involved at so many levels!! In today’s minefield of political insanity, general ignorance and wokeness, the reaction described in this article was preordained. And avoidable.

    To perform in “Jewface” … ! Insane linguistic outgrowth of American wokeness? It implies that a “Jewish face” exists and is clearly defined so that an imitation can be identified… Which puts us right back into the 1920s and 1930s. And nobody thought of this? The world is clearly going backwards into profound stupidity.

    Finally, if non-Jewish Bradley can get a nose-job to fit the perception of what a character looks like, will we now see Caucasians once again singing Butterfly, but with their eyes taped?

    Thank you, crew of this Bernstein movie, for missing the chance of making a wonderful biopic about an amazing star in the musical firmament.

    PS: The altered Mr. Cooper reminds me mostly of Steve Martin in “Roxanne!”

    • gareth says:

      “Jewface” is evidently a parallel to “blackface” and “yellowface”, neither of which are “woke”, but long-established terms describing makeup used to make actors resemble a specific ethnicity.

    • squagmogleur says:

      I think the prosthetic nose was used to make the actor’s face resemble Leonard Bernstein’s more closely, rather than to make him appear Jewish. But in the screenshot at the top of the article, the nose does appear unnecessarily geometric, so it will be interesting to watch the movie and see if this is how it looks in different shots and from different angles.

  • Kman says:

    It seems the cries of anti-semitism are unwarranted, but that prosthetic looks absurdly pointy and unnecessary. Cooper’s own nose would’ve been fine for young Bernstein – perhaps a prosthetic for the later portrayal.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Never mind the physical elements, what’s the film going to say about Bernstein’s relationship with his wife? Any chance of a reference to the (often) unflattering Humphrey Burton bio?

      Having read that tome this is one film I’m going to see.

      • drummerman says:

        The most “unflattering” bio of LB was by Joan Peyser

      • Dietrich says:

        Bernstein’s children are deeply involved in this project so I doubt we will see the effects of their father’s malignant narcissism on their mother’s life or, for that matter, their lives , presented in all its unvarnished cruelty. However, we can live in hope. More important, who is the audience for this bio- pic? Is there a market outside of the Indie- Art House demographic that is large enough to make this a modest hit?

  • Anonymous says:

    Whether the nose prosthetic is absurd or not is a legitimate topic of discussion given racist caricatures of Jewish noses, but some of the commentary has absurdly extended into criticism of casting a non-Jewish actor in the role. It’s particularly absurd commentary since the alternative actor many are touting (Jake Gyllenhaal) is has significant non-Jewish ancestry, unlike Bernstein.

  • freddynyc says:

    Isn’t LB on record as referring to it as his “big Jewish nose” during one of many documentaries made about him……?

    • jim says:

      I don’t think anyone is denying that LB had a big nose. It just didn’t look anything like that traffic cone they stuck on Bradley Cooper. LB was a good looking man. In the pics I’ve seen from this movie he’s not. Maybe in the actual film it will seem less grotesque.

  • Guest Conductor says:

    Looking forward to seething this film!

  • Alviano says:

    Hooray for Bernstein’s children.

  • Tony Sanderson says:

    So what’s the film actually like?

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    As a big Leonard Bernstein fan with loads of DVDs of him conducting, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed his nose in preference to any other visual part of him. Strange what people get hung up on.

    • Henry williams says:

      Paul Neman said if he looked like
      Golda Meir he would not of got the parts
      For all his films.
      Which is not very nice.
      This is in his new biography.

  • Thornhill says:

    I look at it this way: If the prosthetics call attention to themself, then don’t use them. And in this case, the nose looks obviously fake. The makeup artist just didn’t do a good job.

    I would also add that prosthetics are only necessary when there is something distinguishing about someone’s appearance, like the case with Churchill. I wouldn’t say that this is true with Bernstein, and I find the degree to which the film goes to make Cooper look like him to be simply weird.

  • Larry W says:

    Conductor, composer, pianist, educator, and author, Leonard Bernstein is the greatest musician America has ever produced. Just keep his nose out of it.

  • Tom M. says:

    Hollywood seems to have a problem getting prosthetic noses right (anyone remember Nicole Kidman’s fake nose in “The Hours”?). And no one has mentioned that Sarah Silverman, who claims to have come up with the term “Jewface” in condemning non-Jewish actors playing Jewish roles, plays Bernstein’s sister Shirley in the movie.

  • Mr. Andrews says:

    Sounds like pre-release hype crafted to drum up free press for what can be popularly perceived as a snoozer of a picture.

  • Henry williams says:

    My mistake Newman

  • High-Note says:

    Bernstein’s kids were consulted – they approved of it. So: CASE CLOSED!!! If you don’t like the schnoz, don’t see the film. Geez!

  • Mr. Andrews says:

    Oh, and I worked audio on The Gershwin Gala (PBS 1987) and was in close with all the stars and what I remember about Lenny was not his nose but his huge ears (LBJ sized) and he was 5’7″. He played the piano on the stage band transcription of Rhapsody In Blue. Worked more with him, but that was the first time.

  • Gustavo says:

    An der Nase eines Mannes erkennt man den Johannes.

  • SlippedChat says:

    The American satirical publication “The Onion,” which reports truly fake current “news” in the deadpan style of mainstream journalism, is on the Bernstein film case:

  • Giusitizia says:

    So now I suppose that if there are biopics of Bob Hope or Jimmy Durante they will have to ignore their actual proboscis’s to avoid charges of making them “look Jewish” in some way! We know who are the real racist stereotypers here. Ironic.

  • Sammy says:

    Bradley directed and wrote the film. He sounds and acts like Bernstein and got coached by Yannick to resemble Lenny as much as possible. The nose, however, is just too much. I don’t understand how Bradley approved this caricature of a nose. He was so particular and so careful about any other detail in this film. I’m sure the movie will be fun to watch

  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. says:

    Wait until you see the prosthetic Bradley Cooper applies when he does the life story of the late porn star John Holmes.