Lady Gaga is insurmountable in the entertainment business. The multi-platinum and global award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and superstar is celebrating her birthday today. With it, we are ranking the best performances from female musicians turned actresses in the last 35 years (post-1986), our Mother Monster’s age.
The ability to artistically explore both music and acting is not a skill that is often displayed in the Hollywood business well (has anyone tried to watch “Cool as Ice” starring Vanilla Ice?). There have been many to revere from the stages of “American Idol” to a musical melodrama under Lars von Trier’s vision, and including Gaga, we’ve seen the best masterclasses from these artists.
After smaller roles in movies like “Machete Kills” (2013) and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (2014), Gaga made her leading lady premiere opposite Bradley Cooper in his directorial debut “A Star is Born” (2018). She became the second person to be nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year, following Mary J. Blige the year prior. Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) and Leslie Odom Jr (“One Night in Miami”) have followed consecutively since.
She’s garnered an impressive 29 Grammy nominations, winning 12, including recently for best pop duo/group performance for “Rain on Me” from her album “Chromatica.” She’s currently ranked ninth for the most Grammys won by a female artist behind Beyoncé (28), Alison Krauss (27), Aretha Franklin (18), Adele and Alicia Keys (15), Ella Fitzgerald, Emmylou Harris and Leontyne Price (13) and is tied with CeCe Winans.
Before her double Oscar mentions, she was nominated alongside Diane Warren for the original song “Til It Happens to You” from the documentary “The Hunting Ground” (2015). The pair lost the award to Sam Smith for “Writing’s on the Wall” from the James Bond film “Spectre.” Warren is currently nominated for a record 12th nomination this year for “Io Si” from “The Life Ahead.”
The world awaits Gaga’s next venture as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci.” Portraying Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife, who arranged to have him killed, the United Artists release assembles a smorgasbord of Oscar winners and nominees, including Adam Driver Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto and Al Pacino. Back in January, Gaga was named one of the 36 most anticipated performances coming in 2021.
The 10 best performances from female musicians turned actors since (with a clip from their best scenes) is down below—Happy Birthday to the Queen of Pop.
Honorable mentions: Mariah Carey in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (2009), Beyoncé Knowles in “Dreamgirls” (2006), Madonna in “Evita” (1996), Mandy Moore in “Saved!” (2004), Barbra Streisand in “The Prince of Tides” (1991)