The Oscars 2022 have a lot going for them: a return to high style after a long period of remote and understated award shows, Will Smith striding onto the stage and apparently smacking Chris Rock and then immediately winning an Oscar, and Jamie Lee Curtis holding a puppy during the In Memoriam segment.
What we don’t have is the Lady Gaga factor. On Oscar night, Gaga attended Elton John’s famously fabulous Oscar party wearing a floaty gown composed of layers of buttery yellow tulle. Hours later, wearing a shimmering tuxedo, she appeared at the Oscars and presented the final award of the evening, best picture, with Liza Minelli. Both outfits are “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, unafraid to reference or not reference.”
Lady Gaga, the human generator of memes, GIFs, sound bites, and visual treats. This was supposed to be a Gaga year. A Gaga awards cycle. A Gaga Oscar night. Playing Patrizia in House of Gucci was supposed to launch Gaga into her sophomore Oscar season, a triumphant follow up to her ingenue year as a nominee for A Star Is Born. The movie was supposed to be couture awards bait—directed by Ridley Scott, costarring Adam Driver and Jared Leto, sort of historical, enthusiastically European. Instead the movie was nominated for only one Academy Award, for best makeup and hairstyling. (The Eyes of Tammy Faye won instead.)
And so Lady Gaga disappeared from the awards press cycle just as things were about to get good. She had time to announce that she went so deep into her character’s darkness that she hired a psychiatric nurse to stay on set with her. But she did not have time to show off every gorgeous and absurd style choice that surely would have accompanied this press cycle.
Her reappearance in the final seconds of the 2022 Oscars is a satisfying conclusion. Lady Gaga’s year will come again, and with it, many a memorable look.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.