A star is reborn.
When Lady Gaga triumphantly swanned to the Golden Globes stage in 2016 to claim her first-ever acting award, the moment became a meme. But for an embarrassing reason: the way Leonardo DiCaprio seemed to laugh out loud, then roll his eyes when her name was called as best actress in a limited television series for “American Horror Story: Hotel.”
Right now, the English betting site Bovada has her in the lead to win, with 2 to 5 odds.
Even after the singer won her first Globe, many still weren’t convinced of her talents. (The Post’s own TV editor Michael Starr wrote: “The fact that wooden, vamping amateur Lady Gaga won … speaks volumes about the artistic hollowness of these awards. They’re a joke.”)
And Gaga herself admitted at a red-carpet appearance for “A Star Is Born” that she wanted to be an actress even before pursuing a music career — but, she said, “I was bad at auditions. I never got a job.”
Now, thanks to a combination of acting lessons — she prepared for the film with the well-respected teacher Elizabeth Kemp, who also coached Gaga’s co-star Bradley Cooper before she passed away in 2017 — and the stars aligning, Hollywood has changed its tune about her.
“Gaga has an inner incandescence that a star has. By showing the depth of her vulnerability, she gave a brilliant performance. I think she’s got a gigantic future: the rare comet that comes along,” said veteran Hollywood producer Howard Rosenman (“Call Me By Your Name”). “She’s transcended to Streisand myth level.”
‘She’s transcended to Streisand myth level.’
And one Academy Awards voter told The Post that Gaga, 32, will be the belle of the Oscars come February. He also expects her to milk the moment for all it’s worth.
“She will definitely be nominated, for acting and for [the hit ‘A Star Is Born’ song] ‘Shallow,’ ” said the voter. “She’ll no doubt wind up singing on the Oscars, too. She’s no dummy — and neither’s the Academy.”
One big part of Lady Gaga’s new success may be attributed to what a perfect fit she was for “A Star Is Born.”
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in Manhattan, she was anything but an overnight success. She grew up on the Upper West Side, the daughter of an entrepreneur dad and stay-at-home mom (the two now own Joanne Trattoria on West 68th Street), and began playing open-mic nights while still a student at the all-girls Convent of the Sacred Heart school. At New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she formed the SGBand with some friends and also played solo acoustic shows around town. (It’s now hard to imagine Lady Gaga opening for second-tier alt-rock act Nada Surf at the South Street Seaport, but that’s exactly what happened in 2005).
It was her boyfriend at the time, music producer Rob Fusari, who claims to have dubbed her Lady Gaga, inspired by the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga.” Fusari also helped her nab a solo record deal with Jam in 2007, after she had dropped out of NYU, although that quickly evaporated and she ended up writing songs behind the scenes for Britney Spears (“Quicksand”) and Jennifer Lopez (“Hypnotico”).
It was once she met performance artist Lady Starlight — her real-life, avant-garde Jackson Maine, if you will — and began playing Lower East Side clubs, including The Bitter End and Mercury Lounge, that things began to change.
By 2009 she had taken over the pop world with her smash hit debut album “The Fame” and a new glambot-meets-extraterrestrial persona.
So Gaga’s performance as Ally, an obscure singer-songwriter who makes her way to full-fledged stardom, is particularly poignant because it parallels her own life — but manages to avoid any glint of Gaga glam.
“Gaga chose to underplay this role, [which was] a brilliant choice on her part,” Hollywood power publicist Howard Bragman told The Post.
“Ally in street clothes speaks louder than her playing a big blown-out pop star. [Gaga] understood if she made Ally anything like Gaga, she’d take the audience out of the story,” said “A Star is Born” costume designer Erin Benach. “So we eschewed the Gaga trappings and looked back at iconic pop-star characters in movie history: Whitney Houston in ‘The Bodyguard,’ Judy Garland in the second version of ‘Star is Born,’ Barbra Streisand [in the third].”
Benach, who refers to the music superstar by her real name, also told The Post, “Stefani’s a very real, big-hearted, sincere human being. And that’s what comes through in her performance.”
But only a handful of female pop stars have ascended to movie stardom: Cher, Bette Midler, Streisand. Jennifer Hudson had one hit film; so did Houston and Diana Ross. Dolly Parton, bless her heart, always plays Dolly.
And then there’s Madonna. The icon seems especially threatened by the continued ascendance of Gaga.
Madonna grabbed great reviews for her 1985 acting debut, “Desperately Seeking Susan,” and decent ones for “Evita” and “Dick Tracy” in the ’90s. But it’s been all downhill from there for
Madonna in Hollywood, with “Swept Away” earning a shockingly paltry $600,000 at the box office and her 2011 debut directing effort, “W.E.” receiving an embarrassing 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even before Gaga’s Hollywood turn, Madonna was sniping at her younger counterpart, calling Gaga’s music “reductive” while also suggesting that Gaga was ripping her off: “I’m a really big fan of [”Born This Way”],” Madonna said on Brazilian TV. “I’m glad that I helped Gaga write it.”
Gaga has copped to doing the one thing that might drive Madonna craziest: pay her little attention. “I think she’s more aggravated that I’m not upset that she doesn’t like me,” Gaga told Howard Stern.
And now that Gaga is having her awards-season moment, Madonna has coincidentally upped her p.r. game — hiring Hollywood mega-publicist Kelly Bush ahead of her upcoming album and shocking Internet wags with her New Year’s Eve appearance at the Village’s Stonewall Inn, where she appeared to be sporting a very enhanced new rear end.
But, despite all that, Gaga may nab the one thing Madonna doesn’t have: an Oscar.
“The Academy is now younger, more diverse [than in the Madonna era] and they understand that Gaga will bring in the viewers — and the clicks,” said the Oscars voter.
Meanwhile, Gaga is keeping an eye out for her next movie role while also keeping her music career going at full steam.
She’s in residency at Las Vegas’ Park MGM Theater until Feb. 3, performing two separate shows: “Enigma,” which goes all out with the shock and awe of pyrotechnics, robot riding and day-glo wigs galore, as well as the more sedate “Lady Gaga Jazz and Piano.”
After that, there are the Grammys on Feb. 10 — she’s up for five awards — and expect to see her hitting the Oscars campaign hard before the big show. She’ll return to Vegas in June.
‘She can do whatever she wants to do because of her work ethic.’
There’s also a wedding to plan. She’s engaged to her CAA agent, Christian Carino — he also represents Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Julianne Moore — whom she began dating in 2017, two years after splitting with actor Taylor Kinney. Gaga recently told “E.T.” she wants a “hugely elaborate wedding.”
At least one person thinks she can do it all.
Famed songwriter Diane Warren, a nine-time Oscar winner who penned “Why Did You Do That” for “A Star Is Born” attributes Gaga’s success to pure hard work.
“It’s talent, of course, but Gaga’s so smart. She can do whatever she wants to do because of her work ethic,” Warren said. “She works with a vocal coach two hours a day and had the best acting coach for the movie.”
And if Gaga wants something, she goes for it. When she felt the urge to stick her toe in the shallow end of the acting pool, she rang up producer Ryan Murphy and asked him to pen her a little part — which morphed into her “American Horror Story: Hotel” role.
Producer Rosenman admitted: “I’d love to develop something for her. I don’t think the right script will just materialize. It will have to be developed for and by her.”
While she’s open to reading scripts, Gaga has revealed that her goals for a second or third movie are epic. As she recently told the Bangkok Post: “I’m looking for roles that will blast me to outer space.”
By Merle Ginsberg