Country and Americana had the best of the best representing them at Sunday’s (Feb. 24) 91st annual Academy Awards.
Kacey Musgraves attended the show to present a performance by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, who sang their original “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Coen Brothers film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Welch and Rawlings’ angelic harmonies serenaded the Hollywood crowd as oversized production screens projected cinematic views of a starry nighttime sky over a desert.
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” was a nominee for the best original song Oscar along with Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars;” Diane Warren’s “I’ll Fight;” Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s “The Place Where Lost Things Go;” and the category winner “Shallow” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.
Later in the evening, Gaga and Bradley Cooper gave a commanding performance of “Shallow” from their co-starring film, A Star Is Born. The movie’s soundtrack has some strong ties to the Nashville music community with contributions from Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell and Aaron Raitiere.
Gaga’s impassioned acceptance speech for best original song was a highlight of the night. “If you’re at home and you’re watching this right now,” she said, “this is hard work. I worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it … it’s not about how many times you get rejected, fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and you’re brave and you keep on going.” She also thanked Cooper adding that he was the best duet partner for the song.
At times during the telecast, Musgraves was shown seated in an aisle seat next to her manager, Jason Owen. But on the red carpet, Musgraves’ pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown came alive as she posed for pictures on her way into the show.
She paired her ensemble with a Jimmy Choo clutch, jewels by Beladora and Neil Lane; and Brian Atwood heels.