clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Oscars performance gave us one last great Star Is Born meme

The pair’s soul-gazing “Shallow” duet sent social media off the deep end.

Gaga and Cooper sing at the Oscars ABC
Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

We all know that A Star Is Born co-stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have chemistry, but at the 2019 Oscars on Sunday, their intimate performance of “Shallow” — the movie’s hit duet, which picked up an Academy Award for Best Original Song — was more than any of us were expecting.

The song started with a mesmerizing cold open after Cooper and Gaga walked up to the stage from the audience (because by now, “Shallow” needs no introduction), and ended with the pair staring soulfully at each other.

In the middle of our previously scheduled Oscar night to-dos — a host-free show for the first time in 30 years, a disappointing Best Picture win, several milestones reached, and red-carpet fashion — not even the fierce fandom for A Star Is Born was prepared for Gaga and Cooper to drape themselves lovingly across a piano bench and gaze into one another’s eyes. It might be the closest the Oscars have ever gotten to “horny on main.”

The social media reaction was swift.

Speculation ran rampant among onlookers that the pair’s onscreen chemistry might be an offstage thing as well.

One observant viewer even snuck in a comparison to beloved Canadian ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the not-actually-a-couple who were the subject of similar shipping during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But eventually, everyone caught their collective breaths. And then came the memes.

It’s a fitting end to A Star Is Born’s moment of cultural dominance that it should finish off its awards season run by creating a social media flurry. From the moment the first trailer dropped in June, A Star Is Born was one of the buzziest films of 2018; it drew a huge fandom and generated plenty of memes well before it hit theaters in October.

And it’s easy to see why: Despite the movie’s ultimately mixed critical reception, A Star Is Born completely revolved around the chemistry between its two stars. And on Oscar night, they reminded us all once again just how palpable and vibrant that chemistry was.