‘A Star is Born’: Lady Gaga broke the Oscar curse when ‘Shallow’ won Best Original Song

We weren’t surprised that Bradley Cooper‘s remake of “A Star is Born” lost seven of its eight races at the Academy Awards. After all, there is an Oscar curse on this classic tale of Hollywood. The first three versions of “A Star is Born” earned 17 nominations but won just two. The original 1937 film claimed the screenplay award while the 1976 musical remake won Best Original Song (“Evergreen”) for its leading lady, Barbra Streisand. She was the first female composer to win this Oscar; Lady Gaga became the 11th when she won for “Shallow.”

Let’s take a closer look to see how each of the four films fared at the Oscars.

2018 version
Cooper cast Lady Gaga in her first starring role. Reviews for the film were ecstatic praising the first-time helmer and his leading lady. It was the early frontrunner to sweep the Oscars and earned bids from 12 of the 13 guilds (missing out only with the visual effects wizards). But it lost with all of those precursor prizes, save for a win for contemporary makeup. That was a sure sign of its limited success on Oscar night.

Best Picture – lost to “Green Book”
Best Actor – Cooper lost to Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
Best Actress – Lady Gaga lost to Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
Best Supporting Actor – Sam Elliott lost to Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
Best Adapted Screenplay – lost to “BlacKkKlansman”
Best Cinematography – lost to “Roma”
Best Sound Mixing – lost to “Bohemian Rhapsody”

SEE 2019 Oscars: Full list of winners (and losers) at the 91st Academy Awards

1976 version
Streisand and her boyfriend Jon Peters moved the story to the world of rock music. She played Esther Hoffman while Kris Kristofferson was the fading star John Norman Howard. It reaped four below-the-line bids, with Streisand and lyricist Paul Williams the only winners.

Best Cinematography – lost to “Bound for Glory”
Best Song Score – lost to “Bound for Glory”
Best Sound – lost to “All the President’s Men”

SEE 2019 Oscars: How were winners for the 91st Academy Awards chosen?

1954 version
After Judy Garland played the part of Esther on the radio, her husband Sid Luft produced this lavish musical remake. George Cukor, who had helmed “What Price Hollywood,” directed Garland andwith James Mason to the best performances of their careers. The film earned six Oscar nominations but was shut out. Here are the results of those six races:

Best Actor – Mason lost to Marlon Brando (“On the Waterfront”)
Best Actress – Garland lost to Grace Kelly (“The Country Girl”)
Best Art Direction (Color) – lost to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”
Best Costume Design (Color) – lost to “Gate of Hell”
Best Original Song – “The Man That Got Away” lost to “Three Coins in the Fountain” from the film of the same name
Best Score – lost to “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”

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1937 version
This drama and was a retelling of the 1932 hit “What Price Hollywood.” Two Oscar winners — Fredric March and Janet Gaynor — played fading matinee idol Norman Maine and newcomer Esther Blodgett. It earned seven Oscar nominations and won Best Original Story. Here is what it lost to in each of the other six races:

Best Picture – lost to “The Life of Emile Zola”
Best Director – William Wellman lost to Leo McCarey (“The Awful Truth “)
Best Actor – March lost to Spencer Tracy (“Captains Courageous”)
Best Actress – Gaynor lost to Luise Rainer (“The Good Earth”)
Best Adaptation – lost to “The Life of Emile Zola”
Best Assistant Director – Eric G. Stacey lost to Robert Webb (“In Old Chicago”)

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