They're far from the shallows now — and onto the 2019 Oscars stage. At Sunday night's Academy Awards, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed "Shallow" from A Star Is Born, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The stripped-down performance began with the pair walking onstage from their seats in the front row, with Cooper serenading his costar before she took her seat behind the piano.
And though the number didn't feature any dramatic sets or elaborate costumes — Cooper wore his tuxedo while Gaga changed into a simple black ball gown — the pair's chemistry gave the performance all of the fireworks it needed. In fact, social media exploded in reaction to the crackling chemistry between Ally and Jackson — sorry, Cooper and Gaga.
The performance marked the second time that Cooper has sung the nominated song onstage with Gaga, who performed solo at the 2019 Grammy Awards. In January, the Best Actor nominee surprised fans at Gaga's Las Vegas residency show, Enigma, when she began to perform the final number of the night. "A really good friend of mine is here," Gaga said, according to Variety, who wrote about the surprise performance at the time. "I don't know if you know him, but his name's Bradley, and he made that movie A Star Is Born." Videos from the moment showed Gaga and Cooper hugging before he joined her at her piano.
Before taking the stage on Oscar night, "Shallow" earned Gaga and co-writer Mark Ronson a Golden Globe and multiple Grammy awards. While accepting the the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the Grammys, Gaga spoke about the importance of supporting each other through mental health struggles, which is one of the running themes of A Star Is Born. "If I don't get another chance to say this, I just want to say I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that address mental health issues," an emotional Gaga said after thanking Cooper at the top of her speech.
"They're so important. And a lot of artists ... a lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other," she continued, "So if you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away. And if you're hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody ... and take them up in your head with you."
In addition to advocating for mental health awareness, the singer-turned-Oscar nominee has talked about the importance that "Shallow" has for her, explaining to Variety in November that she found the lyrics particularly poignant in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court. "We are living in a time where there's so much conversation about women's voices being heard... Men listening to those voices," she said.
"And also, men not listening to those voices. Women being silenced in very public ways, like Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford with Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh being appointed is basically like telling every single woman in the country that’s been assaulted, ‘We don’t care. Or we don't believe you.'" (Kavanaugh has denied Blasey's allegations).
She added that the hope and beauty of "Shallow" and its success is hearing that men will listen to women's voices. "That conversation is what makes the song successful and beautiful and why people cry when they hear it. It's because that man and woman connect, and they are listening to each other," Gaga explained.
In the Variety interview, Gaga also explained that seeing A Star Is Born succeed meant even more to her after she realized how much it meant to her fans. "I only want to win now,” she said metaphorically, “because I want that kid who feels like me, that misfit or outcast that didn’t belong, to win. The reward for me is that this movie is a win for them."
Gaga may have taken home the Oscar, but after watching their intense, intimate performance on the stage, it's clear that we were the real winners on Sunday night.