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‘A Star is Born’ Locks in 8 Oscar Nominations, Executive Producer Heather Parry Talks Trusting Artists to Tell Their Story

On January 22, the nominees for the 2019 Academy Awards were announced. A Star is Born brought in eight nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Bradley Cooper for Best Actor and Lady Gaga for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.

Many were delighted at the 2019 Golden Globes when the song “Shallow” won the award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. The song is performed in the film by co-stars Cooper and Gaga with writing and production help from Mark Ronson.

In fact, history repeated itself in support of the Gaga/Cooper collaboration by way of the film’s lucky legacy as a remake. In January of 1977, the Golden Globe award in this same category went to “Evergreen” on behalf of songwriter Paul Williams and his collaborator Barbra Streisand, who performed the song for the 1976 version of A Star is Born, in which Streisand co-starred with Kris Kristofferson.

A Star Is Born is a classic tale foretelling the pitfalls of love and fame. Gaga plays Ally, an up and coming young artist who falls for aging musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) just as his career is spiraling downwards as her spotlight as a star grows. Both Cooper and Gaga were nominated for Golden Globe awards in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories respectively.

The film was also nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliot), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Mixing.

A Bright Future for “Shallow”

Still, the future looks bright for “Shallow”, as it is well-poised to win the same award at the upcoming Academy Awards presentation on February 24.  The song is also nominated for a couple Grammy Awards in the Record of the Year category, which awards the best overall music track, as well as the Song of the Year category, which focuses primarily on songwriting.

Gaga referred to the song as “counterculture in a lot of ways.” She went on to explain that while the song didn’t really fit into the ideal parameters of a standard commercial track, “People still connected with it and that meant a lot to us.”

During their Golden Globe acceptance speech, Ronson and Gaga also thanked director Bradley Cooper for his vision to incorporate the song as a vital element of the film. “You took a heartfelt, honest tune and you gave it emotional resonance that we could’ve only dreamed of,” Ronson stated with humility and grace. “The way you weaved the lyrics into the film and the narrative of your beautiful heartbreaking film is why we’re standing up here tonight, I believe.”

Executive Producer Heather Parry Fights For the Difficult, Personal Stories

For Executive Producer Heather ParryA Star is Born represented a strategic move into scripted films and a natural progression into film and television after launching a set of smaller projects, almost all with budgets under $5 million. These were primarily documentaries about artists in the music industry, often embarking on intense personal journeys with these artists.

In an interview at Web Summit, Parry comments on the importance of taking a risk with a movie like A Star is Born, a film with an ending many would consider far from happy. “You have to take risk, that’s how you grow your business… I knew Bradley Cooper from working in the music business, I knew he was going to make a great director,” she continues, “Our motto at Live Nation is ‘Artist First,’ whether that be the filmmaker in Bradley or someone like Lady Gaga. I was all in, I put my full bet on that.”

Heather Parry produced Believer, a documentary about Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds and his confrontation with the Mormon church for its discrimination of the LGBTQ community, as well as the Lady Gaga documentary Five Foot Two for Netflix.

Parry’s skill and expertise as a producer is backed by her impressive connections and contacts, which she began accumulating during her time at MTV.  In the past several years, Parry has learned how to take full advantage of Live Nation’s formidable access to assets and opportunities to promote films that have to do with the music industry, and all of these resources were used to benefit A Star Is Born.

“Live Nation owns over 100 music festivals,” Parry explains, “so, for example, in between Dierks Bentley’s and Blake Shelton’s sets at Country LakeShake in Chicago, we ran a trailer for the film in front of 55,000 people. At other festivals we put up big posters, and we had the trailer running in the suites and concession stands, not to mention the support of their sponsorship and marketing teams.”

She went on to explain how Ticketmaster data was used. “Who bought Gaga tickets and what else did they buy?” she pointed out. “If they also bought a Bruno Mars ticket, he did ‘Uptown Funk’ with Mark Ronson, who also wrote the Star Is Born lead song with Gaga, so that gave us another set of fans to reach out to.”

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