Lady Gaga Reveals Oscar Winner She Wants to Work With Next, Recalls Moment She Knew She'd Made It (Exclusive)
By Miguel A. Melendez
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Lady Gaga's meteoric rise as an actress has earned her elite status reserved only for Hollywood royalty -- the ability to say who she wants to work with next on the big screen. And, after having already crossed off a few on her bucket list, the House of Gucci star has now set her sights on a two-time Oscar winner.
The 35-year-old star spoke with ET's Lauren Zima at the Palm Springs International Film Awards, where Gaga was being honored with the Icon Award following her deft portrayal of the Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci. Gaga marveled at joining a list of past winners that includes Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, among others. After joining such elite company, it begged the question -- who does Gaga want to work with next?
"My gosh, there are so many actors that I would love to work with," Gaga tells ET. "Al Pacino was certainly one of them. I'm very proud to call him my friend. I wanted to work with Jared [Leto]. I wanted to work with Adam [Driver]. I wanted to work with Jeremy Irons. I wanted to work with Salma [Hayek]."
"I have to say, one of my fellow Icon Award winners, Tom Hanks, I would love to work with Tom Hanks," she shared. "I think he is one of the most brilliant actors of all time."
Hanks is a six-time Oscar-nominated actor who has hauled in two Best Actor awards for his performances in the 1993 film Philadelphia and the 1994 classic Forest Gump. He won the Icon Award in 2014 for Sully.
It's not lost on Gaga, however, that telling the stories of powerful women is what catapulted her career. She was an Oscar nominee for Best Actress in A Star Is Born, and her role in the Ridley Scott-directed House of Gucci is once again garnering her Oscar buzz.
"I think I'll always tell the stories of women because I am a woman and women have so many stories to share," she said, "and women are powerful, and women are vulnerable. And to be vulnerable and strong at the same time, I think is a special thing."
It's no surprise, then, why Gaga says she's drawn inspiration from some Hollywood's greatest actresses.
"I've always looked up to Meryl Streep," Gaga said. "She is the greatest female actress of all time. Her commitment to her role is unparalleled. Glenn Close as well."
Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and is very much proud of her Italian heritage, said working with some of the most revered actors in House of Gucci didn't just cement her place in Tinseltown. It was also the realization of a "we've made it" moment for her family, too.
"I can assure you the've never heard such a bellowing sound out of my father," said Gaga when she told her family she'd be working with Pacino. "My Italian father went absolutely crazy. 'Pacino?! Pacino?! No! Stefani!' He was so excited, my mother was excited, my sister was excited, everybody in my family was excited. ... It was such a great privilege."
"I come from a culture of plenty," she continued. "The culture of plenty that I came from was because my ancestors worked so hard so that I could have a better life. And, in that life, I get to work with Al Pacino. And he taught me so much. For those who don't have the honor of knowing him, I'll tell you, he's everything that you want in your favorite actor to be. ... He's so talented, it's seeping out of his pores."
Gaga's mega success hasn't interfered with her ability to slow down and bask in the moment, though. She also has the ability to vividly recall the moment she felt like she was a mainstay. The "Born This Way" singer was 25 years old and getting ready to hit the stage for her final Monster Ball concert in Mexico City in May 2011.
"It rained, and all of the equipment broke and we were so nervous about all of us falling on the stage while there was water splashing everywhere," Gaga recalled. "Water was pouring down on me, and I remember my microphone was wet. I remember singing as loud as I could. I remember looking at 150,000 people and feeling all of their hearts. Feeling all of their souls, and knowing that there was a community of people that all believed in one thing, which was that we were all different and that that was OK."
"I remember that night in Mexico City I kissed the center of the stage when I was done," she continued. "And I knew it was my last show, and I said thank you to the stage."