Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Oscars performance of future karaoke mainstay and 2019 Best Original Song winner “Shallow,” the breakout hit from A Star Is Born, was suitably outsized.
The 2019 Oscars winner for Best Original Song, “Shallow,” is maybe the best thing about A Star Is Born, but its prominence in the movie’s trailers immediately earned meme status. It’s a legitimately great song, of course, and Lady Gaga in particular sounds fantastic. But it’s also a song designed for a diva, and to a diva it belongs.
Not only is Lady Gaga a diva, but Bradley Cooper is her smitten admirer. “Shallow” is an electric song for us in the audience, to be sure, but Cooper and Gaga’s performance felt almost like a prelude to something even more romantic. Perfectly channeling their A Star Is Born characters, a pair of doomed lovers, Gaga and Cooper are all over each other in this performance. It’s almost like an onstage recreation of the movie, with “Shallow” the tune that soundtracks the ebbs and flows of their relationship. If Cooper had somehow decided to propose to Gaga at the end of this song, well, we would not have been surprised.
And in appropriate fashion, Gaga gave a rousing, tearful speech when she received the trophy for Best Original Song.
“If you are at home, and you’re sitting on your couch and you are watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work,” she said. “I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about winning. What it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. It’s about discipline, over passion, and it’s not about how many time you get rejected or you fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and keep on going.”
A Star Is Born is up for numerous awards tonight. Along with winning Best Original Song, the film is nominated for Best Picture and Best Actress, for Lady Gaga’s performance as the titular star. It’s the latest remake of the classic Hollywood story of a man and woman whose relationship is torn asunder by the woman’s rising fame, in contrast to the man’s fading star. Bradley Cooper, who sang “Shallow” with Lady Gaga both in the film and during the Oscars performance, both co-starred and directed the movie.
Although critical acclaim has cooled since the film’s theatrical release in October, A Star Is Born has won commercial success. Despite that, however, A Star Is Born went from a surefire Best Picture contender to a reluctant nominee besieged by criticisms over its portrayal of mental health, consent, and the male-female dynamic between an established star and an ingenue.