Lady Gaga wins first Oscar

Lady Gaga as Ally and director Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in 'A Star is Born'

‘Shallow’, from the movie ‘A Star Is Born’ won best original song at 91st Annual Academy Awards this year.

Gaga had performed the tune from “A Star Is Born” as a duet with Bradley Cooper a short time earlier, in a riveting performance that earned a standing ovation.

The award for “Shallow” went to Gaga and co-writers Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Anthony Rossomando.

“Bradley: there’s not a single person on the planet that could have sung this song with me but you,” said a tearful Gaga. “Thank you for believing in us. … And 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. I’ve worked hard for a long time, and … it’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion, and it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down, or you’re beaten. It’s about how many times you stand up, and are brave, and you keep going.”

It was a clean sweep of the major awards this season for “Shallow,” which also won the Golden Globe, the Broadcast Film Critics Association award and the Grammy. “A Star Is Born” also won the BAFTA for original music.

The “Shallow” writers were all enjoying their first nominations as well as wins, with the exception of Gaga, who received her first Oscar nomination for co-writing “Til It Happens to You” from the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Her co-writer on that song, Diane Warren, was also nominated in this year’s song category, for her contribution to another documentary, “RBG”; it was Warren’s 10th loss over the past 31 years.

“Shallow” was the most commercially successful of the five nominated songs, reaching no. 5 on the Billboard chart.

“Shallow” was originally intended to run over the end credits of “A Star Is Born,” to tie in with a climactic scene in which Cooper was to have drowned himself in the ocean, as some of the male figures in previous incarnations of the screen story have. When a switch was made that didn’t involve such a watery denouement, the song stuck, albeit with fewer metaphorical implications — and found an even better home in multiple scenes where Gaga’s character first sings it to Cooper’s in a parking lot, then has her star-birthing moment when he invites her on stage to sing it at the Greek.

As Gaga and Bradley Cooper rehearsed A Star Is Born’s hit song “Shallow” ahead of their Sunday night performance at the Oscars, he said, “Let’s just drop a little bit of joy.” And, as Gaga told press backstage, “It turns out, joy did a whole lot for me.” Perhaps that was a good call, because their performance was a highlight of the ceremony, and, as it turned out better as the song won Gaga the Oscar.

But surprisingly, Gaga said one big reason “Shallow” resonated with so many is because of the thing we look at a million times a day in the palm of our hand: our phone.

“I really believe in my heart that the unfortunate truth is that our cell phones are becoming reality,” she said. “It’s become reality for the world. And in this song we provide not just a conversation, but also a very poignant statement. I wish not to be in the shallow, but I am. I wish to dive off the deep end, but watch me do it. I think this is something that speaks to many people, and during, I think, a very shallow time, it’s a chance for us all to grab hands and dive into the water together and swim into the deepest depths of the water that we can.”

ABC’s Coverage Of The 91st Annual Academy Awards – BackstageOne of her other biggest messages backstage was a request for the Academy to change their gendered awards system. Right now the acting awards are separated in to actor and actress, but Gaga said, “I have a true dream that these awards shows will not be male and female, that we will include everyone.”

And while it might appear that Gaga has it all, with not just her music career, but now an acting career as well, she said appearances can be deceptive.

“People see what they see on the outside, and in some shape or form we become archetypes,” she said, “I was so determined to live my dreams but there was so much in the way. There were so many things that I didn’t anticipate, things that broke me, that tortured me.” When she is all dressed up, things might seem perfect, but “the truth is this is very, very hard work and it is not for the faint of heart.”

For Gaga, winning an Oscar also wasn’t the simple, straightforwardly dreamy moment you might have expected it to be. It actually made her look back on all the hard things she’d had to overcome. “When this Oscar was handed to me tonight,” she said, “I looked right in the eyes of it and I saw a lot of pain. I saw all the things I’ve been through.”

As for what she wants to do next, Gaga’s plan is simply to “continue to be myself. I want to continue to fight for what I believe in and do my best.”

- Compiled by Ruwanthi Abeyakoon

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