Just when you thought this 88th Academy Awards show was all about Chris Rock roasting white Hollywood (a.k.a. just “Hollywood”), and everyone outstaying their welcome during their acceptance speeches, in sweeps an unlikely duo to blindside us with the night’s biggest sob fest.
After encouraging people in the audience (as well as viewers at home) to head to the It’s On Us website to sign a pledge to intervene if they ever witness a sexual assault, Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga (watch his moving words here) to sing Best Original Song nominee “Til It Happens To You” from the film The Hunting Ground. Dressed all in white and seated behind a massive white grand piano, Gaga belted out the tune she wrote with Diane Warren about the experience of surviving a sexual assault (Gaga herself was raped as a teen). The powerful performance ended with a few dozen survivors joining the singer onstage with phrases like “Not my fault” and “Unbroken” written on their arms.
As the song came to a close, the camera panned across the audience, catching famous faces like Kate Winslet‘s streaked with tears and Rachel McAdams with eyes brimming. Eddie Redmayne‘s wife was also among the choked up in the crowd, but who can blame her? If we were tearing up at home, imagine how much more impactful the performance would have made live.
And if that wasn’t enough, Brie Larson hugging every assault survivor as they left the stage was enough to put anyone over the edge.
While Gaga may have lost out on the Best Original Song award to Sam Smith‘s “Writing on The Wall,” she totally won our hearts tonight.
You can see her emotionally wrought performance for yourself on oscars.ctv.ca.
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