Passion or performance art? Body language experts decipher sensual Oscars duet

February 24, 2019

Is it passion or just a performance? That’s what the worldwide audience wondered as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed a steamy duet of the song, “Shallow,” from their blockbuster movie, A Star Is Born, at the Oscars on February 21.

And, as Brie Schwartz, deputy editor of, commented, “Thanks to their clear, err, comfort levels with each other, everyone … has speculated that there’s been an off-screen relationship brewing as well—regardless of how unfair those rumors are to Cooper’s girlfriend, Irina Shayk.

So Schwartz asked two body language experts to weigh in on photos of their performance for an exclusive Oprah report.

What struck Atlanta-based body language expert Patti Wood  was their extended, atypical, unbroken eye contact.

Sure, it was a carefully choreographed performance, but Wood told, “This mutual gaze was a “longing to touch” or a “pre-coitus” stare. “That’s why everybody went crazy watching it!” Yep. Felt that.

Blanca Cobb, a body language expert based in Greensboro, North Carolina, agreed, telling Schwartz that the chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper was as palpable at the Oscars as it is in the film. “When they look at each other it’s as if they’re looking into each other’s souls,” she says.

The duet—which was recognized during the awards ceremony as best original song of the year— set the stage for their characters’ romance in the movie..

What makes their real life chemistry even hotter than their characters’, however, is Cooper and Gaga’s connection. Their interactions are tender, sweet,” Cobb explains.

She adds, “Their physical closeness and touches during their Oscars performance screams attraction.”

Also of note? The moment Gaga clutched her womb while Cooper was singing to her. “The stomach touch showed that Gaga felt a moment of vulnerability,” Cobb told, adding, “Almost as if to calm the proverbial ‘butterflies in your stomach.’”

But of course, if they could simulate passion for the film, they also were capable of appearing ready for some action on the Oscars stage.

“To determine if they’ll turn into a real life love story, you’re better off watching their interactions when they’re not on-camera,” Cobb shares.

Take, for example, the way Cooper grasped her hand as he walked her off stage following their epic song.

“In multiple photos and joint appearances, Cooper and Gaga are not only vocal about their friendship and fondness for each other, but also they tend to show this closeness through touch,” explains Cobb. “Here, their hands are clasped in a less-romantic way, as indicated by the fact their palms are touching without their fingers interlacing, like a parent would lead a child.”

But then, you can also see the way he “puts his arm around her and brings her close to him,” when he thinks no one is paying attention, which suggests they’re more than just “buds.”

Of course, Schwartz reports, “only time will tell if Cooper and Gaga collaborate again (and by collaborate, we mean start dating). But for now, we can say with certainty that while there might have been 3,400 people at the Dolby Theater … for Gaga and Cooper, it seemed there were only two.”

Research contact: @BrieSchwartz

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