Part of the challenge — and brilliance — of A Star Is Born was the creation of two musicians with clear, distinct visions and voices. Ally isn’t just a collection of Lady Gaga B-sides, she’s a singer and songwriter with a style all her own. When Lady Gaga accepted the National Board of Review’s award for Best Actress Tuesday night in Manhattan, she said she’s proud that Ally’s alchemy was due to her love with Jackson Maine. “I knew intrinsically that this woman, who did not want to sing her own songs, would be influenced heavily by both the love and co-dependent relationships that she had with Jackson Maine, who I still miss very much,” Gaga said. “I knew the music must be first influenced by him. You really truly are, Bradley, a musician. I watched it. I heard it from the moment you sat at my piano with me and you sang. Watching you write songs, watching you create, I knew that she had to be influenced by her love for him.”
By the time Ally starts creating her so-called sellout bops in the second act, her relationship with Jackson Maine becomes more fraught. She dyes her hair tangerine, sings on Saturday Night Live, and is nominated for three Grammy awards; he plays smaller and smaller venues, and drinks more and more. “Later as her career began to expand, I knew that meeting big-time industry managers and producers — although she was a strong woman — she would feel the pressures to succumb to what others saw her future as,” Gaga said. “Whereas in my career, I have over and over again tried to subvert the influence powerful men in my life have had on me and create something unexpected all on my own. Every time they told me to go left, I would take a sharp, sharp right.”
Even though Gaga herself misses Jackson Maine, she had effusive praise for her director and co-star Cooper. “You taught me so much. You made a way better actress. I don’t even look back on this experience as one of filming a movie, but rather that we became two people who are not us, and lived and breathed as them for a moment in time that I will never forget,” Gaga said. There can be 100 people in the room, but all it takes is one Lady Gaga to give Bradley Cooper the best compliments we’ve ever heard.