Lady Gaga's Oscar Performance
Gregg DeGuire/ Kevin Winter/ Todd Williamson/ Kevin Winter/ John Shearer/ Steve Granitz/ Jeffrey Mayer/ Getty Images
First a brief moment to say that, though her outfit did not fit well (and see earlier where I don’t understand why we commit crimes against breasts), I would always rather see an interesting choice that’s not quite right than a boring column.
But that’s not really what everyone’s talking about, of course. Lady Gaga’s performance was much, much, much celebrated last night and I even read headlines that said things such as ‘this is what will be remembered from this year’s Oscars’. Those are big, dramatic headlines, and I was concerned, because I didn’t feel the same amount of impact—at least not initially.
Joe Biden coming on the Oscars to promote Itsonus.org is massive. Explicit, specific endorsement of a website that is crystal clear about consent. He was his typical Joe Biden self, looking as ready to tell a joke as he is at the SOTU, but it was amazing.
As for the performance, I think it was clearly very evocative in the theatre. There were any number of shots of people in tears and I don’t think that’s pretension—and of course having all of the survivors right there in the theatre makes it clean and affecting in a very real way.
I wish I had felt the enormity of it the same way on television. A smart friend of mine said she felt like Gaga’s performance was for a concert hall (or in this case, a theatre) but it was shot like an intimate, MTV Unplugged. Gaga was performing for the theatre, but that meant that on TV, it came across not as powerful, but just as dramatic and over the top. I felt really distracted from the song I very much wanted to hear and feel and I feel badly saying that, because it doesn’t take anything away from the message, or the song’s musical merits as written, or the fact that someone can feel and react and perform any way they want to. I’m not trying to discount the bravery of the survivors on the stage. But I wonder whether, when Gaga watches back the tape of the performance, she’ll feel as though the performance she gave was the performance that was broadcast. Television is a strange mistress.