Yes, she was nominated for Best Original Song for "Til It Happens to You," which she co-wrote with Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, but for Lady Gaga, her appearance at the 2016 Oscars was about a lot more than taking home a golden statue. The song touches on an extremely personal topic for Gaga, who's spoken in the past about being sexually assaulted by a record producer at the age of 19.
Gaga opened up about the song's importance on the red carpet before the ceremony tonight, telling ABC, "One in five women will be raped before the time they finish college. One in 20 men will be raped before the time they finish their schooling at their university."
Vice President Joe Biden introduced Gaga's performance by asking viewers to take a pledge promising to intervene when they see situations where consent has not or cannot be given. "Let's change the culture. We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman or man like the survivors that you see tonight will have to ask themselves, 'What did I do?' They did nothing wrong," Biden asserts. "Take the pledge at ItsOnUs.org."
Gaga then took the stage for an extremely heartfelt and beyond emotional performance of "Til It Happens to You." She poured her heart and soul onto the keys and you could absolutely feel through the screen just how important the lyrics and what they convey are to her.
For most of the performance, Gaga was surrounded by darkness. Then, towards the end, the black scrim at the back of the stage opened up to reveal a group of silhouettes. Their faces began to take shape as they walked forward, surrounding Gaga. They all appeared to be college-aged. They stood looking at the audience with their right arms out, words like, "Survivor," "It happened to me," and "Unbreakable" written on them in thick, black ink.
It's important and impactful. These are the faces of sexual assault. They're not going to hide in the dark anymore. You can watch Gaga's complete performance, here. Rachel McAdams' reaction (seen below) is basically what will happen to your eyes as well.
After her performance, Lady Gaga took to Twitter to speak out for Kesha, who is involved in an ongoing battle with her record producer, Dr. Luke, who Kesha has accused of sexually assaulting her.
.@kesharose I'll be thinking of u 2nite. This is not over we'll stand by u until you are free to live a HAPPY life. Everyone deserves that.— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 28, 2016