Bradley Cooper’s Two-Minute ‘Abbott Elementary’ Performance as Himself Submitted for Emmys

Bradley Cooper, who has 12 Oscar nominations, might soon add his first Primetime Emmy nod to his resume for playing himself on ABC‘s “Abbott Elementary.” ABC and awards strategists confirm to Variety that the studio has submitted the actor for guest comedy actor consideration for this year’s awards.

Earlier this year, the Television Academy changed the rules for submitting in the guest acting categories, stating, “A brief cameo appearance is not eligible for entry.” However, the vague description doesn’t explicitly state whether an actor like Cooper or even Kevin Hart, who appeared in last week’s episode playing himself over a Facetime call with Jeanine Teagues (Quinta Brunson), would constitute a cameo.

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The rules further clarify the definition of a guest performer: “The minimum stand-alone and contiguous screen time (performer has an ongoing engagement in the scene, on or off camera) for eligibility is 5% of the total running time of the submitted episode.”

The TV Academy said the rule tweak was made “to ensure that a guest performer’s role is significant to the episode being submitted.”

Cooper’s episode, titled “Willard R. Abbott,” premiered following this year’s 95th Oscars ceremony, where he received three nominations for producing, writing and starring in his Leonard Bernstein biopic “Maestro.” In the cold open of the sixth episode, a student in Melissa’s (Lisa Ann Walter) class brings the star to the school for show and tell after spotting him buying a hoagie across the street.

The episode is 20 minutes and 31 seconds long (or 1,231 seconds). To be eligible, Cooper must appear in 5% of the episode’s runtime, or 61.5 seconds. The actor appears in the one-minute and 56-second scene (or 116 seconds), nearly double the minimum requirement.

Hart, a Philadelphia native, FaceTimed into the final minutes of last week’s episode “Mother’s Day,” which found Janine Teagues (Quinta Brunson) investigating whether Hart could be her father after sleeping with her mother in high school. The 21-minute, 37-second episode had the comedian’s scene beginning at the 20-minute, 28-second mark as the credits rolled. He requires 65 seconds to be eligible, barely clearing the mark with 71. However, Variety has confirmed Hart was not submitted as a guest comedy actor due to the “virtual cameo.” It’s not clear if he would have qualified if submitted. Nonetheless, Hart is up for multiple categories, including his talk series “Hart to Hart” on Peacock and hosting the game show “Celebrity Game Face” on NBC.

Read: All Primetime Emmy predictions in every category on Variety’s Awards Circuit.

This begs the question: what previous nominations or wins was the TV Academy trying to circumvent? Looking back to 2021, when Claire Foy won her Emmy for guest drama actress for “The Crown,” which put her on screen for one minute and 49 seconds of the 53-minute episode, she would be 10 seconds short of the requirement to submit. This year, in reprising her role as young Queen Elizabeth, along with Emmy winner Olivia Colman, each woman would need three minutes and 36 seconds of the 72-minute series finale episode. Both women clear the mark in their respective parts by Variety’s calculations.

Brief nominated performances, such as Don Cheadle’s nom for a three-minute scene in Marvel’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” in 2021, would still be eligible for consideration.

Cooper will vie for consideration in a field overflowing with multiple actors from “The Bear,” notably Jon Bernthal, John Mulaney and Bob Odenkirk. He’ll also face off against fellow Oscar nominees from this year’s ceremony, including Ryan Gosling for hosting NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

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