The Oscar-nominated singer, 36, looked unrecognizable from her usual made-up appearance and instead took the stage in a simple black T-shirt, ripped jeans and sneakers. She pulled her hair back in a french braid and didn’t accessorize the look with any jewelry.
“I wrote this song with my friend BloodPop for the film Top Gun: Maverick in my studio basement,” Gaga said at the beginning of the performance. “It’s deeply personal for me, and I think that we all need each other.”
She continued, “We need a lot of love to walk through this life, and we all need a hero sometimes. There’s heroes all around us, in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero even if you feel broken inside.”
Gaga then began to sing a stripped-down version of the song, which was nominated for Best Original Song against Diane Warren’s “Applause,” Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up,” Kaala Bhairava, M. M. Keeravani and Rahul Sipligunj’s “Naatu Naatu” and Son Lux’s “Life Is a Life.”
Social media users rushed to Twitter to praise the intimate performance. “Everyone expected a big production but Lady Gaga has once again proved that all she needs is her talent to stand out,” one person wrote. “All the glam being stripped away just an intimate performance with her voice.”
“One thing about Lady Gaga is that she will always serve gorgeous vocals and get a standing ovation!” another fan added. A third said that the New York native gave “the most special speech at the #oscars tonight.”
In January, Gaga took to Instagram to share her reaction to being nominated at the Oscars. “Thank you so much to the Academy for nominating my song ‘Hold My Hand’ for an Oscar this year!” she wrote alongside a photo of her posing with flowers. “Writing this song for the film Top Gun: Maverick was a deep and powerful experience that I will never forget.”
“So grateful for the magic of music and cinema. Love you my co-writer @bloodpop I’m on set filming now big love to little monsters!” she concluded.
The 2023 nomination marks her fourth nod at the Academy Awards. Gaga was previously nominated for Best Original Song in 2016 and 2019, as well as Best Actress in 2019.