Oscars be damned — Lady Gaga has all the recognition she needs.
The pop star’s hotly anticipated role as convicted murderess Patrizia Reggiani was hailed as a breakout performance by some critics, but apparently not enough to convince the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which passed up a nomination for Lady Gaga as this year’s Best Actress.
The New York Film Critics Circle thought otherwise, awarding her the best actress title officially back in December. And on Wednesday night, the 35-year-old triple-threat finally got the chance to accept the award during NYFCC’s rescheduled ceremony.
“Thank you to the New York Film Critics Circle for recognizing my performance as best actress this year,” she told the audience during her tearful three-minute speech. “I can’t even [believe I get to] hear myself say it. In doing so you have recognized all the women in my family, because it was through them that I was able to create the heart and soul of this character, the one that she deserved.”
The run-up to the release saw much buzz about Gaga’s method as she assumed the role of Reggiani, who hired a hitman to murder ex-husband and fashion house heir Maurizio Gucci. The actress — whose given name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — opened her speech by thanking the “strong Italian women” of her family who influenced her approach to the character.
“My Italian grandmothers, they taught me how to be tough, how to have endurance. My Italian mother,” she said while gesturing to her mom in the audience, adding a pause as she fought back tears. “You taught me how to be fearless. And you taught me never to take ‘no’ for an answer, or if somebody said ‘no,’ you taught me to go find someone that says ‘yes.’ And my sister, since we were young, and even now, when we talk she always reminds me that I always have to find a way to be brave.”
“These women taught me how to have big feelings in a man’s world, and having big feelings is beautiful,” she continued. “It’s Italian, it’s who we are: We’re hard work, and big feelings. And also meatballs — or actually in Italy meatballs aren’t a real thing, it would be ragu.”
After thanking her co-stars, she added, “It’s really hard to say goodbye to art, because you learn so much about yourself.”
Despite the Oscars snub, and getting nominated but not winning for best actress by the Screen Actors Guild during their awards ceremony last month, Gaga insisted that recognition from the NYFCC felt particularly meaningful for the native New Yorker.
“I will cherish this award as if it were handed to me by my ancestors, because I know it came from my home,” she said. “I know that this came from you because you saw the authenticity in my performance — you could see my Italian-New York heart.”