HomeOur ObsessionsA Star is Born: Ranking Lady Gaga’s most dynamite performances

A Star is Born: Ranking Lady Gaga’s most dynamite performances

Lady Gaga has been attempting to become a respected actor (with mixed results). Here’s a ranking of her six roles so far that showcase her development.

A Star is Born: Ranking Lady Gaga’s most dynamite performances

The remake of A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper dropped to a rapturous response – and an Oscar.

Before we got to see it, everyone involved wanted the musical to be legit as hell. Speaking at CinemaCon (where Warner Bros. debuted the first “poignant, honest” footage of the movie), Cooper explained that Gaga convinced him to sing live for the movie with the singer apparently telling him, “What I can’t stand in movies is when it’s playback.” Same, girl. Same.

Gaga – otherwise known as Stefani Germanotta – is renowned for her amazing singing skills and singular stage and screen presence that straddles between high camp and powerful sincerity. If you loved the movie and are desperate to see more of Lady Gaga (I mean who doesn’t), the musician has been attempting small strides in recent years to become a respected actor (with very mixed results). Here’s a ranking of her six roles so far that showcase her development over the years.

6. “Telephone” (2010)

This vivid extended music video saw Beyoncé stealing the show with the few spoken lines that are actually uttered in the entire thing. While Gaga’s acting skills weren’t exactly prominent in the pop-art soaked b-movie homage, her screen presence most certainly was. She might not be giving us any Meryl Streep (The Post) realness in the video, but she’s undoubtedly got compelling levels of star appeal.

5. La Camaleón: Machete Kills (2013)

By all accounts playing an extended version of her Telephone persona, Robert Rodriguez’s exploitation movie tribute settles for utilizing Gaga’s public image rather than giving her a whole new character to explore. As a result, the star is a little stiff on screen, giving the role her best half-assed b-movie acting attempt. It definitely works for the movie but it also undermines her creative clout.

4. Lady Gaga: “3-Way (The Golden Rule)” (2011)

This Saturday Night Live sketch from musical-comedy trio The Lonely Island hints at the possibility Gaga has more to offer than just a dazzling demeanor and great voice. Starring in the raunchy short alongside fellow actor-musician Justin Timberlake and the always wonderful Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy), Gaga shows she also has a wicked sense of comedy timing and a droll grasp of humor.

3. Scáthach: American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016)

Fans had high expectations for Gaga’s return to Ryan Murphy’s horror anthology show, which felt a little thwarted by the disappointing character she was given to play. Scáthach (the original supreme) is a bloodthirsty immortal witch with a voracious sexual appetite, great cunning, and a mysterious purpose, and yet Gaga’s performance occasionally feels a little one-note. However, it’s also a role in which she seems the most confident to be experimental and she’s all the more entertaining for it.

2. Bertha: Sin City: A Dame to Die For (2014)

Gaga’s second collaboration with Rodriguez involves much of the same as the director had her doing in Machete Kills – namely talking with a cigarette in her mouth. Yet somehow, even though her character only enjoys a brief role, Gaga delivers one of the most captivating and charming performances of the entire movie. She’s just the right amount of cartoonish.

1. The Countess: American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)

In the role for which Gaga (controversially) won a Golden Globe (making Leonardo DiCaprio laugh so hard at the event she had to elbow him as she sauntered past), the star offers a masterful balance of campy theatrics and powerful high-drama as the glamorous, over-sexed vampire.

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer who occasionally moonlights as a hapless punk musician. She’s written about pop culture for websites like Bustle, i-D, and The Mary Sue, and is the co-creator of Clarissa Explains F*ck All. She likes watching horror movies with her cat and eating too much sugar.

amy@filmdaily.co