As award season draws to a close, time calls for an obligatory reflection on the deserving winners, the graceful runners-up and the occasional sore loser. Although usually a charade of winners being rewarded for past contributions to cinema and the same few films predictably taking the majority of the awards, this year’s award ceremonies tended to defy convention – and female achievement took centre stage.
In a stark contrast to previous years of celebrity boycotting and all-too-visible whitewashing, this year at the Oscars, Netflix originals as well as the predominantly black cast of Black Panther were refreshingly nominated in many major categories. It seems that the establishment is beginning to critique and review those deserving of recognition beyond the same, tired faces of Hollywood.
A particularly exceptional moment of this year’s award season came in the form of Lady Gaga’s success. While Bradley Cooper may have been shunned for his directorial debut, a remake of the Hollywood classic A Star is Born, Lady Gaga’s involvement with the soundtrack drastically outshined Cooper’s contributions.
Gaga’s digital chart-topping single from the film, ‘Shallow’, not only swept the charts, but joyously remained in our heads for weeks on end. Collecting an award at all five major ceremonies, it won Best Song, or the equivalent, at the BAFTA’s, Oscars, Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, and it also grabbed a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media. Lady Gaga is the first person to have ever accomplished this incredible achievement.
Lady Gaga is no stranger to the success of awards, having amassed a huge amount across her musical and acting career. Her astonishing ability to have major mainstream success across several fields of artistry is a true credit to her talent. While her success this year is no surprise, her shudderingly emotional songs and performances continually inspire women across the globe.
Fiercely committed, in her Oscar speech she explained that “all I have to say is that this is hard work. I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about, you know…it’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion.” This sentiment, as well as demonstrating Gaga’s method of success, taps into her position as a figure of female empowerment. Proving that no dream is too big and no contribution is too small, Lady Gaga signals a movement towards the sole celebration of female achievement, independent from their male peers.
Collecting all five major awards in one season is a momentous achievement not only for Lady Gaga, but also for an industry that has been plagued with the disruption of inequality in so many disciplines. From the necessity of the #MeToo movement to the snubbing of females in major award categories, the celebration of female achievement independent from their male peers is still drastically lacking in Hollywood. For example, it was only recently that Greta Gerwig become the first woman to ever win the award for Best Director at the Oscars. It is sometimes baffling to see an industry so saturated with women, where the fantastic work of countless women isn’t recognised to the full extent of its brilliance.
Lady Gaga is one of the many women whose achievements are remedy to the institutionalised misogyny of the music and film industries. In her award recognition, we can begin to recognise a positive shift in Hollywood and beyond. Let us all be empowered to see a woman accomplish the unaccomplished and hopefully look towards a movement of equality in the arts.
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