Leading up to their highly anticipated performance at this year’s Academy Awards, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga made a point to stress that they would be appearing as themselves—not as their A Star Is Born characters Jackson Maine and Ally.
It didn’t matter one bit.
The pair needed no introduction, literally. With the camera at the back of the stage, the acoustic guitar riff began as a piano was rolled out. Cooper walked Gaga from their front row seats up the steps where they began their duet for the Hollywood crowd. By the end of the song, they were seated together behind the piano, their faces were practically pressed together. They seemed ready for a kiss.
“Shallow,” which comes near the end of the film’s first hour, is not only the undisputed highlight of A Star Is Born. It was also one of the most exhilarating movie moments of the past year.
Unlike at the Grammy Awards, where Lady Gaga performed a dance-y version of the song on her own, this performance more closely resembled the time Cooper joined her on stage during her Las Vegas residency last month, producing a viral moment that helped ensure the song would win the Best Original Song award—even if the movie somehow failed to take home anything else.