Lady Gaga's Road to the Oscars: Her Complete 'A Star Is Born' Journey
By Liz Calvario
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It's as if Lady Gaga was meant for A Star Is Born.
The fourth iteration of Hollywood's favorite film stars Gaga as Ally, a talented yet insecure songwriter who falls in love with Bradley Cooper's alcoholic rock star, Jackson Maine. The drama chronicles their tumultuous love story, as well as the effects of fame and addition, and the pop star, in her first leading role, shines brighter than ever.
"All I have to say is this is hard work," she said in her Academy Award acceptance speech. "I've worked hard for a long time and it's not about winning, but it's about 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 up, it's about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going."
And so, let's take a look back at all the hard work Gaga put into her incredible A Star Is Born journey:
March 2016: After years of development, during which directors like Clint Eastwood and stars like Beyoncé were reportedly attached to star in the latest remake of A Star Is Born, Cooper officially signs on to make his directorial debut.
April 13, 2016: Cooper is blown away while watching Gaga perform "La Vie en Rose" at Sean Parker and the Parker Foundation cancer benefit. "She had her hair slicked back, and she sang ‘La Vie en Rose,’ and I was just...levitating. It shot, like, a diamond through my brain. I loved the way she moved, the sound of her voice,” Cooper later told Vogue about seeing her perform.
April 2016: The next day, he called her agent, drove to her Malibu home and pretty much offers her the role. "[I] fell in love with [Gaga's] face and eyes," he recalled. "She came down the stairs and we went out to her patio and I saw her eyes, and honestly, it clicked and I went, Wow."
Gaga made spaghetti and meatballs as they discussed working together on the project. "The truth is, it’s only going to work if we can sing together,” Cooper told Gaga, who then printed out the sheet music for the classic folk song, "Midnight Special." Gaga revealed in her Vogue cover story that she was shocked my Cooper's "tremendous voice."
“He sings from his gut, from the nectar! I knew instantly: This guy could play a rock star," she said. "And I don’t think there are a lot of people in Hollywood who can. That was the moment I knew this film could be something truly special."
April 29, 2016: Gaga holds on tight to Cooper as paparazzi snap her riding on his motorcycle as the twosome make their way to dinner in Santa Monica, fueling rumors that she would be starring in the remake. Eventually, Ally and Jackson would similarly ride off into the sunset together onscreen.
August 2016: Gaga officially joinsA Star Is Born. It's also revealed, naturally, that the songstress will write and perform new music for the film.
April 17, 2017: Gaga begins filmingA Star Is Born and shares the first photo from the film. "I am so excited to star in my first movie alongside someone I'm so lucky to call my friend," she captioned the photo on Instagram. "I always wanted to be an actress on the big screen. The story of 'A Star is Born' is so special and I'm so grateful to Bradley for making my dream come true. Can't wait for you to meet Ally. She has her first scene in 5..."
April 18 & 19, 2017: With Gaga set to headline both weekends of Coachella -- taking over last minute when Beyoncé had to step down -- the A Star Is Born crew takes advantage of the primo location and heads to the festival to shoot concert footage of Ally and Jackson performing together during the interim weekdays.
June 6, 2018: The first trailer for the highly anticipated musical drops, which not only gets fans even more excited for the remake, but introduces the iconic "Shallow" wail, Oh, haaa-ah-ah-ah, haaaaWWAHH, HAAA-AHH-AHH-AAHHH.
Aug. 31, 2018: A Star Is Born premieres at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. Before the main event, Mother Monster makes an epic entrance arriving on a boat taxi in a chic Jonathan Simkhai bustier dress paired with black stilettos.
For the actual screening, Gaga turns heads in a dress fit for a princess, a gorgeous, blush pink Valentino gown from the Fall 2018 Couture collection. Adorned with feathers, the floor-length dress featured multiple layers and a flattering strapless cut. The film would also go on to receive praise and admiration from early viewers.
Sept. 9, 2018: Continuing their festival circuit, Cooper and Gaga make a glamorous statement at the Toronto International Film Festival, with the leading lady arriving at the red carpet in an Armani Privé black gown which she accessorizes with a black veil, matching hat and Chopard jewelry.
At TIFF, Gaga told ET that her chemistry with Cooper was instantaneous and said that if he wanted to take on a real-life singing career, he'd be a natural. "There's no other actor that could play a rock star, he's the only one," Gaga said. "If he wants to, he can do anything."
Gaga receives a standing ovation following the screening and is moved to tears when Lukas Nelson, who co-wrote many of the film's original songs, tells her, "You destroyed every single scene you were in." The audience bursts into extended applause and Cooper even jumps out of his seat to join in, which makes Gaga cover her face with her hands, mouthing, "Please stop" and "Thank you" at the crowd.
Sept. 24, 2018: Gaga shines in a metallic silver Givenchy Haute Couture design and Bulgari jewelry for the A Star Is Born Los Angeles premiere, and tells ET how "humbled and grateful" she is that she'd been given this opportunity, leading to her now-infamous "100 people in a room" quote.
"Bradley is a visionary human being. He has such an eye for creating an atmosphere of liberation and talent. He believed in me," she said. "You know, 100 people can be in a room, and 99 don't believe in you. If just one person believes in you, it can change everything. He believed in me and I'm so grateful to him for that.”
Sept. 27, 2018: Gaga and Cooper's first single from the movie drops, with an accompanying music video that features new footage from the film. "Tell me something, girl, are you happy in this modern world?" Cooper's Jackson croons. "Or do you need more? Is there something that you're searching for?" About one minute in, Gaga as Ally hesitantly jumps in, singing, "Tell me something, boy, aren't you tired trying to fill that void? Boy, do you need more? Ain't it hard keeping it so hardcore?"
Sept. 28, 2018: Gaga exudes renaissance elegance in an Alexander McQueen gown at A Star Is Born's London premiere. The multitalented performer stuns in a pearl embroidered, embellished gold-and-white, off-the-shoulder corseted dress with voluminous sleeves and ruff collar from the fall/winter 2013 archive collection from Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton.
Oct. 5, 2018: A Star Is Born opens in theaters and Gaga marks the occasion by sharing behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram:
Nov. 8, 2018: Following the release of the movie, Gaga kicks off her awards season circuit by attending the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s 3rd Annual Patron of the Artists Awards in Beverly Hills, stunning in a taupe A-line strapless Christian Dior gown, but all eyes were on her massive, pink, sparkling diamond engagement ring.
Nov. 18, 2018: The superstar then attends 10th Annual Governors Awards in Hollywood in a black Valentino gown, with puffy sleeves and a voluminous body. The awards show is put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who famously also throw the Academy Awards, and is seen as something of a precursor to Oscar consideration.
Nov. 29, 2018: Gaga and Sam Elliott attend the 32nd American Cinematheque Award Presentation honoring their director. Gaga illuminates the red carpet in a curve-hugging Azzedine Alaïa dress. "It just makes my heart sing. I am so happy to be here tonight," Gaga gushed to ET. "He is such an incredible director and you know he made me a better actress...You know, that's what's really come out of all of this for me: the reward of a lifetime friendship with someone I deeply respect."
Dec. 6, 2018: A Star Is Born receives five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Drama, Best Actor in a Drama and Best Director for Cooper. Gaga is nominated in the Best Actress in a Drama category, as well as Best Original Song for co-writing "Shallow."
“I am very grateful A Star is Born has touched so many people and to the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing our film with such abundance," Cooper said in a statement. "I've wanted to tell stories through film for as long as I can remember and I feel lucky even to have had the opportunity to do that – to be included in a community of such inspiring artists is incredibly humbling. A huge congrats to all of this morning’s nominees and especially to my dear friend, Lady Gaga."
Dec. 7, 2018: Gaga gets even more accolades when "Shallow" earns nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media for the 2019 GRAMMY Awards.
Dec. 12, 2018: The pop star adds another nomination to her list, up for Female Actor in a Leading Role for the 2019 SAG Awards. "I'm so honored to be recognized by SAG as an actress alongside Bradley and Sam Elliott, and above all completely emotional to be recognized as an ensemble," Gaga tweets following the announcement. "A real family was built with this cast and I am so grateful. Thank you so very much for these nominations what a gift."
Jan. 6, 2019: Gaga wins the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and immediately burst into tears when the award is announced by Idris Elba and Taylor Swift. "As a woman in music, it is really hard to be taken seriously as a musician and a songwriter...they lifted me up, they supported me," Gaga said about her co-writers, which include Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Mark Ronson.
"My mother and Glenn are good friends, so I’m so very happy that you won this this evening,” Gaga said while fumbling with her written speech. “I am so honored by this. I went to places in my mind and in my heart that I did not know existed or that I could.”
She also thanked Cooper for being a "magical" filmmaker and human being. "You seamlessly were both the love of my life and the man behind the camera and the trust you created on set from the cast to the crew," she said. "It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done -- to relive something that I’m not quite sure I wanted to relive. But I was able to be vulnerable in a way that I never have before because of that love and that trust.”
Jan. 22, 2019: While she had previously been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2016, Gaga earned her first Oscar nomination for acting with a Best Actress nod, in addition to another Best Original Song nomination for "Shallow."
"I am so humbled and proud to be nominated for two Academy Awards. There really is no greater honor, and to share this excitement with Bradley, Sam, Mark, Andrew, Anthony and everyone involved in the film is pretty mind blowing," she tweeted following the news. "Bradley had such a precise vision and perspective, and he created a true family. The greatest gift has been how the film has resonated with so many different types of people on so many levels. It's really unbelievable. I'm still in shock."
Jan. 26, 2019: It's a Jackson Maine and Ally reunion as Cooper makes a surprise appearance at Gaga's Las Vegas residency, Enigma, to sing "Shallow." Taking a seat at a stool with the hitmaker at his feet, the director of the film solemnly belted out the first verse. Afterward, Gaga took her seat at her epic piano to deliver the rest of the Oscar-nominated song.
Jan. 27, 2019: Cooper and Gaga exuded Old Hollywood glamour at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards, in her white Dior gown and his Gucci tux. The duo was as adorable as ever, despite their film not getting any SAG Awards love. The actors were both nominated for their lead roles, but lost out to Glenn Close and Rami Malek.
I can’t believe we just won Best Original Music @BAFTA ‘s . I wish so much I was there but am at the Grammy’s to show them our love as well. We made a film about music. This means the world to me. Thank u to all our fans we love u so much, we wouldn’t be here without u #BAFTAspic.twitter.com/nD8QZgwySB
Feb.10, 2019: Music's biggest night happened to fall on the same day as the BAFTA Awards across the pond, so ahead of attending the GRAMMY Awards, Gaga was overcome with emotion after finding out that she won Best Original Music at the British Academy Film Awards.
"I can’t believe we just won Best Original Music @BAFTA ‘s," she wrote, referencing Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson, with whom she shares the award. "I wish so much I was there but am at the Grammy’s to show them our love as well. We made a film about music. This means the world to me. Thank u to all our fans we love u so much, we wouldn’t be here without u #BAFTAs"
The night only got better with GRAMMY wins for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
"I wish Bradley was here with me right now. He's at the BAFTAs," Gaga, who accepted the award, tearfully explained, before highlighting the important themes of the movie. "I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues. They're so important. And a lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other."
She also gave a truly wicked performance of "Shallow" during the telecast, making us even more excited to see how she and Cooper decide to perform their duet for the first time on live TV at the Oscars.