Lady Gaga soared with the “Top Gun: Maverick” ballad “Hold My Hand,” but her 2023 Oscars performance of the song paid tribute to original director Tony Scott.
Scott, who died in 2012, helmed 1987’s “Top Gun.” The long-awaited sequel “Maverick” was directed by Joseph Kosinski.
Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” is a Best Original song contender at the 95th Academy Awards. While Gaga was first announced to not be performing due to her “Joker: Folie à Deux” production schedule, she did indeed take the stage during the awards show to bust out ballad “Hold My Hand.”
“I wrote this song with my friend Blood Pop for the film ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ in my studio basement. It’s deeply personal for me and I think that we all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life. And we all need a hero sometimes,” Gaga said when she introduced the song. “There’s heroes all around us in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken inside.”
The performance ended with a title card honoring late director Scott.
“When I wrote this song for ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ I didn’t even realize the multiple layers it spanned across the film’s heart, my own psyche, and the nature of the world we’ve been living in,” Gaga shared when the song first came out in April 2022. “I’ve been working on it for years, perfecting it, trying to make it ours. I wanted to make music into a song where we share our deep need to both be understood and try to understand each other — a longing to be close when we feel so far away and an ability to celebrate life’s heroes. I’m so grateful to Tom [Cruise] and [composer] Hans [Zimmer] and Joe [director Joseph Kosinski] for this opportunity — and it’s been a beautiful experience working with them. Me, BloodPop, Ben Rice and everyone else who worked on it with us are so excited to share it with you. This song is a love letter to the world during and after a very hard time. I’ve wanted you to hear it for so long. And I’m so excited to give it to you.”
“Top Gun: Maverick” director Kosinski, as well as the returning “Top Gun” team, addressed how the sequel would honor Scott’s vision. “He’s with us now and watching over us, and it’s sad he can’t be here, but I think Joe [Kosinski] did a phenomenal job of taking a leap from what Tony did,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer told The Hollywood Reporter of the franchise legacy.
“Top Gun: Maverick” screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie added, “We’re all here because of Tony. You’ve got to remember that in 1986 when you saw ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Top Gun’ wasn’t ‘Top Gun’ yet — the movies weren’t what they are now, and ‘Top Gun’ was a tectonic shift, and that’s owed to Tony. When Tony was firing on all cylinders there was nobody better, and I don’t think in his lifetime he really got the recognition he deserves as a truly influential, powerful filmmaker.”