Without warning, a piano emerged from backstage with the now-familiar guitar plucking of the "Shallow" opening echoing across the theater. There was no flowery introduction, no lead-up about the actor who had become a singer, or the singer who has elevated to the Best Actress category. It was simply a nervous walk from the front row to the stage, settling into position to sing the centerpiece from A Star Is Born.
Torn from the fabric of the film, the two gazed at each other with a mix of energy and admiration. Unlike in A Star Is Born, this time the power sat firmly on the shoulders of Gaga, seated at the piano bench and guiding Cooper though the moment with her eyes locked upon him. Overcome by the spirit of the song, Gaga releases that epic roar as Cooper spun around to circle the piano and take his place beside her. As they sing together into the same microphone with eyes closed, the feeling is palpable and enormous. Delivering the last tender lines, they turn and look to each other as a smile creeps across their faces. It's was a special, sincere moment that's already an awards show classic.
"Shallow" would go on to win Best Original Song, a big victory for a song that will forever be synonymous with the singer and A Star Is Born. "It's not about winning" explained an overcome Lady Gaga as she accepted the award. "What it's about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. If there's a discipline for passion. And it's not about how many times you are 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. Thank you."
Neither Cooper nor Gaga would win in their respective acting categories, but the performance of "Shallow" and the win for the song speak volumes for them both.
You can watch the acceptance speech from Lady Gaga below.