Shallow, the forlorn signature song from A Star is Born, won the Golden Globe tonight for the best original song in a 2018 film. The award went to the songwriting collective of Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, and Anthony Rossomando.
Performed in the film as a duet between Gaga and co-star/director Bradley Cooper, Shallow ironically provided stirring depth to the music industry tale of A Star is Born.
In the film, Cooper plays rocker Jackson Maine, a troubadour talent undermined by gin and pills, who falls hard for Gaga’s Ally, a waitress who aspires to be a singer-songwriter but is stymied again and again.
Ronson, the esteemed music producer, cited the emotional power of Shallow during his acceptance speech as Gaga stood next to him struggling to keep tears back.
“You took a heartfelt, honest tune and you gave it emotional resonance that we could’ve only dreamed of,” Ronson said. “Seriously, the way you weaved the lyrics into the film and the narrative of your beautiful heartbreaking film is why we’re standing up here tonight, I believe.”
History seemed to be on the side of Gaga and Cooper. In January of 1977, Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born) won the Globe in the same category for songwriter Paul Williams and his collaborator, Barbra Streisand, who performed the song for the 1976 iteration of A Star is Born, which Streisand also starred in.
The stiffest competition in the category may have come from the superhero genre, a somewhat unlikely source for music of merit. But Black Panther was a film that long ago transcended the masked-man genre and became a cultural moment as well as the top-grossing domestic release of 2018. Its music contributed to the elevation, especially, All the Stars, the atmospheric lead single from Black Panther: The Album, played over the end credits of the Marvel Studios hit film,
All the Stars was performed by Lamar and SZA, a.k.a. Solána Rowe, the New Jersey neo-soul singer whose much-celebrated 2017 debut album Ctrl was released by Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment.
Three other songs were nominated in the category this year:
- Requiem for A Private War was written and performed by Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox for A Private War, the Aviron Pictures’ biopic about battlefield journalist Marie Colvin. The former Eurythmics singer won a Globe in the category in 2004 (and later picked up an Academy Award as well) for co-writing Into the West, which she performed for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
- Revelation, from the evocative Focus Features film Boy Erased, was composed by Jónsi (the vocalist from Sigur Ros, the Icelandic band known for their spare, ethereal rock) and Troye Sivan (the pop star, You Tube sensation and Boy Erasedcast member who hails from Australia). The same tandem co-wrote the lyrics with music producer Leland (a.k.a. Brett McLaughlin).
- Girl in the Movies, one of the six original songs that Dolly Parton contributed to the Netflix coming-of-age comedy Dumplin’, which follows the beauty pageant ambitions of a plus-size Texas teen who also happens to idolize the country music icon. Parton was nominated with her Dumplin’ songwriting collaborator (and former 4 Non Blondes member) Linda Perry.
Shallow and All the Stars will square off again on Feb.10 at the 61st Grammy Awards in two of that gala’s most prestigious competitions, the record of the year and song of the year categories. (Record of the year goes to the best overall music track, while song of the year specifically honors songwriting.)
Lamar, who was handpicked by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to oversee Black Panther: The Album as its executive producer, leads this year’s Grammy field with eight total nominations, including one for album of the year that gives Lamar his fourth career nod in the marquee category. Over the past four decades only three movie soundtracks have won the Grammy for album of the year: Saturday Night Fever in 1979, The Bodyguard in 1994, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2002.