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Watch: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper get intimate for “Shallow”

Their performance is pure old Hollywood glamour.

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

If A Star Is Born has given us anything, it’s been the opportunity to see Lady Gaga perform the film’s signature song, “Shallow,” over and over again at every awards show on the circuit. The song, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song, has become a chameleon: In Gaga’s hands, “Shallow” can be a powerful pop anthem, a weirdo dance hit, or a low-key romantic duet. Taken together, the performances coalesce into a showcase for the many facets of Lady Gaga’s star image.

A couple of weeks ago at the Grammys, Gaga performed “Shallow” solo as a weirdo dance hit. She was wearing a rhinestone-encrusted white jumpsuit, and as she sang, she contorted herself into deliberately awkward shapes; Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff compared her to a “monstrous spider.” For the music industry’s annual honors, Gaga returned to her roots as a pop provocateur, with her performance coming straight out of the era of meat dresses and egg cocoons.

But at the 2019 Oscars, Lady Gaga went for old Hollywood glamour in a simple, intimate performance.

She and Bradley Cooper began their performance by walking hand in hand out of the audience and up to the stage, bare except for a couple of microphones and a piano. As they sang, Gaga slipped behind the piano and accompanied herself, looking serene and calm in her black gown and Audrey Hepburn Tiffany diamond. In the last verse, Cooper sat next to her, and the two curled intimately against each other.

It was the polar opposite of Gaga’s Grammys performance, very classic Hollywood crowd-pleaser. And it was another chance for Lady Gaga to show that she can play absolutely any role she puts her mind to.

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