Surprise! An understated Lady Gaga performed ‘Hold My Hand’ at the Oscars after all

A woman in a black dress.
Lady Gaga attends the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on March 12 in Hollywood.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Lady Gaga fit an Oscars performance into her schedule after all!

Original song nominee Lady Gaga made it to the Oscars and even performed “Hold My Hand.” The singer-songwriter made headlines earlier this week after producers said she would be the only song nominee not to perform during this year’s telecast because she “didn’t feel like she can get a performance to the caliber that we’re used to with her and that she is used to” in time.

Then, after walking the champagne-colored red carpet in full glam, Gaga disrupted expectations with an intimate, stripped-down performance of the “Top Gun: Maverick” power ballad while wearing a black T-shirt, ripped jeans and sneakers — with no makeup remaining on her face.


The performance earned the “Shallow” Oscar winner a standing ovation inside the Dolby Theatre.

During a press conference last week, Oscars executive producer and showrunner Glenn Weiss disappointed little monsters everywhere when he revealed that Gaga would skip the awards show due to demands on filming “Joker: Folie à Deux.”

An exclusive look at what happened backstage at the 2023 Oscars.

March 12, 2023

“We invited all five nominees. We have a great relationship with Lady Gaga and her camp,” Weiss said in his initial statement.

“She is in the middle of shooting a movie right now. Here, we are honoring the movie industry and what it takes to make a movie after a bunch of back and forth. … It didn’t feel like she can get a performance to the caliber that we’re used to with her and that she is used to. So, she is not going to perform on the show.”

Since Gaga was able to hit the stage, all five of this year’s original song nominees will have performed during the ceremony. It will be the first Oscars show in three years to include performances of all of the nominated songs.

The other nominees are “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” which will be performed by Sofia Carson and Diane Warren; “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” performed by Rihanna; “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” performed by Stephanie Hsu, David Byrne and Son Lux; and “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” performed by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava. Gaga shares her “Hold My Hand” nomination with musician BloodPop.


The 2023 Oscar winners include “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh and “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

March 12, 2023

This was Gaga’s fourth time performing at the Oscars. In 2015, she performed a mashup of four songs from “The Sound of Music” to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary.

In 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden introduced Gaga’s performance of the nominated song “Til It Happens to You” from the sexual-assault documentary “The Hunting Ground.”

She and Bradley Cooper gave a memorable performance in 2019 of “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” which won the Oscar later that night.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood, and the show will be televised live on ABC.

Nardine Saad contributed to this report.