Lady Gaga's performance as Ally in Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born has been generating Oscar buzz ever since its massive premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. The singer-turned-actress is currently a strong favorite to take home the award for Best Actress at the 2019 ceremony, while the film, which marks Cooper's directorial debut, is predicted to win the night's main award for Best Picture. We spoke with some of the industry's top experts about just how strong Gaga's chances to win Best Actress are, and how many nominations and wins can A Star Is Born reap overall. Here's what they had to say...
Kristopher Tapley, Variety:
Lady Gaga is in the driver's seat for Best Actress right now. There are strong performances in the mix, like Olivia Colman's in The Favorite or Glenn Close's in The Wife, but none has the sparkle Gaga does. She's drawn raves for her debut feature performance, one that included, of course, singing on top of carving out a fresh rendition of a character that dates back some eight decades. That's no small feat, and if the movie can keep up the momentum it currently has, I see little reason to think Gaga can't win one of many prizes for A Star Is Born on Oscar night.
Kevin Polowy, Yahoo!:
I think Gaga has an excellent chance of being nominated. She's probably as close as there is to a shoo-in at this early point. Winning the Oscar will be a taller order, but she's got a seriously legit chance at doing that, too. She's got a lot going for her. First, and most importantly: The performance is freaking revelatory. It's a transformative portrayal, and I think everyone's appreciating what a stripped-down, authentic, soul-baring performance it is–albeit one buoyed by some crazy otherwordly pipes. There's some precedence to pop singers winning Oscars, most notably Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. And what could be really crucial is if A Star is Born emerges as the all-around favorite. We haven't seen one film dominate the major Oscar categories in years, but ASIB could be that movie; it's a critically acclaimed box office hit, the perfect one-two punch, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that it could pull a near-sweep (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor). What stands against her: Glenn Close, who could get sentimental bonus points for The Wife since she's previously 0-for-6 at the Oscars, and Olivia Colman, who's getting a lot of love for The Favourite, as well as a few performances we haven't yet seen (Felicity Jones in On the Basis of Sex, Margot Robbie and/or Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots).
Grace Randolph, Behind the Trailer:
I'd say Gaga is a shoo-in for a Best Original Song nomination, simply because The Academy will want her to perform at the Oscars-especially after she wowed everyone with her rendition of The Sound of Music in 2015! I also think Best Original Song is her strongest chance at a win across the board. As for Best Actress, the Golden Globes love her so expect a nomination there for sure and maybe even a win. Plus their split acting and picture categories (and therefore double slots) help there too. But at the more competitive Oscars, it's too early to tell if she'll earn a nomination, and I think a win is unlikely here.
Jason Guerrasio, Business Insider:
Gaga's chances to get a Best Actress nomination are very good. She delivers one of the best performances of the year. It will be interesting to see if the momentum the movie has carries her all the way through award season to get the Oscar. The biggest challenge Warner Bros. has is to convince Oscar voters that she is playing a character and not some form of her real-life self. Outside of her performance, the movie is looking at nominations for all the main categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director. And it's definitely a lock for winning an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:
I think the Best Actress Oscar will be a head-to-head between Lady Gaga and Glenn Close. I've got to admit—my favourite is Glenn, but it would be really fun to see Lady Gaga win. Maybe Bradley could scramble onstage as she's making her speech and recreate his agonising moment of humiliation from the movie. I think it's a lock for Best Song—and I think it has a very real shot at Best Picture. As for Best Director and Best Actor it could be Bradley's night, I'm not sure!
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:
The path from recording star to A-list actress is fraught with peril—you only need to look at the previous version of A Star Is Born to see that—so for Gaga to have been quite as brilliant in the role as she is already feels like a real achievement. And her performance is raw, direct and unmannered: exactly the opposite of what you might expect from someone who is well known for playing with alter egos in her musical career. So taken together, I suspect both of those factors will mean Oscar voters see her as a no-brainer when it comes to choosing the 2019 Best Actress nominees. As for the film in general, we already know Bradley Cooper is well-liked by the Academy, with his three acting nominations in as many years–so I think a Best Actor nomination for him is a certainty. And nods for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (for Sam Elliott), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song (for "Shallow") and Best Sound Mixing are extremely likely too (Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing are also very possible, along with a second Best Song nomination, depending on Warner Bros' campaign plan in that category). At the moment I'm leaning towards the film winning Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song—so Gaga almost certainly has at least one Oscar in the bag for her work on "Shallow." As for Best Actress, it's incredibly hard to say: "very possible" is about as far as I'd go at the moment, but that could easily change over the coming awards season.
Ben Zauzmer, The Hollywood Reporter:
My actual Oscar predictions are based primarily on the results of previous awards shows, and since those haven't happened yet, I don't yet have a percentage on the chance Lady Gaga wins Best Actress. So, at this point in the year, I tend to believe that the wisdom of the crowd of critics is better than any one expert predictor. GoldDerby aggregates expert predictions, and currently lists Lady Gaga as the early favorite. It's tough to win Best Actress for a musical role—since Sissy Spacek won for Coal Miner's Daughter in 1980, there has only been one other actress to accomplish that: Emma Stone for La La Land in 2016. There is precedent for winning Best Actress on one's first Oscar acting nomination -- in this century, six actresses have done it: Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Marion Cotillard, Brie Larson, and Sandra Bullock. At this point, I would call Lady Gaga the favorite, but caution that favorite status isn't very predictive until the calendar flips to 2019.
The 91st Academy Awards will take place on February 24 in Los Angeles.