There's absolutely no question that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have on-screen chemistry. Their Oscar-nominated A Star Is Born performances are testaments to that. And thanks to their clear, err, comfort levels with each other, everyone who has an internet connection has speculated that there's been an off-screen relationship brewing as well-regardless of how unfair those rumors are to Cooper's girlfriend, Irina Shayk.
The buzz only intensified when Gaga and her fiancé called it quits last week, leading many gossip mongers (romantics?) to agree that she and Cooper are in voracious lurve. And their Steamy with a capital S rendition of "Shallow" during the Oscars didn't help their we're just artists who respect each other case. So, in the interest of imagining our favorite fictional couple together IRL one last time before the Oscar fever breaks (because, let's be honest, couldn't we all use a little lighthearted gossip right now!), we asked two body language experts to weigh in: Was the duo just reprising their roles of Ally and Jackson Maine? Or were they demonstrating something real that goes well beyond a mutual (platonic) admiration?
What struck body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, (and, frankly, everyone else watching) was their extended, atypical, unbroken eye contact.
Sure, it was a carefully choreographed performance, but Wood says this mutual gaze was a “longing to touch” or a "pre-coitus" stare. "That’s why everybody went crazy watching it!" Yep. Felt that.
Blanca Cobb, MS Psy, body language expert, agrees that their chemistry was as palpable at the Oscars as it is in the film. "When they look at each other it’s as if they’re looking into each other’s souls," she says.
"The song 'Shallow' sets the stage for their characters' romance. To take the chemistry from the big screen to the live performance at the Oscars requires them to get back in character. What makes their real life chemistry even hotter than their characters, however, is that Cooper and Gaga’s friendship has sparks of attraction. Their interactions are tender, sweet," she explains.
She adds, "Their physical closeness and touches during their Oscars performance screams attraction."
Also of note? The moment Gaga clutched her womb while Cooper was singing to her.
"The stomach touch showed that Gaga felt a moment of vulnerability. Almost as if to calm the proverbial 'butterflies in your stomach,'" Cobb says.
But of course, there's a reason Cooper and Gaga both recieved Oscar nods for their acting, and the film was honored with a Best Picture nomination-they are two exceptionally talented humans. And while you can't fake chemistry, you can certainly ham it up for the cameras.
"To determine if they’ll turn into a real life love story, you’re better off watching their interactions when they’re not on-camera," Cobb shares.
Take, for example, the way Cooper grasped her hand as he walked her off stage following their epic song.
"In multiple photos and joint appearances, Cooper and Gaga are not only vocal about their friendship and fondness for each other, but also they tend to show this closeness through touch," explains Cobb. "Here, their hands are clasped in a less-romantic way, as indicated by the fact their palms are touching without their fingers interlacing, like a parent would lead a child."
But then, you can also see the way he "puts his arm around her and brings her close to him," when he thinks no one is paying attention, which suggests they're more than just "buds."
There was also one particular moment in the audience that Gaga and Cooper seemed acutely locked in.
"In this photo, they're more attuned to each other than Cooper and Shayk. When your bodies are attuned, you’re emotionally attuned as well. They're leaning forward and laughing, enjoying the moment," Cobb says. "Shayk, on the other hand, is leaning back in her seat wearing a smile with her hands folded in her lap."
It could be, however, that the mother of Cooper's child is purposefully staying in the shadows (no pun intended) in order to let them have their Oscars moment.
While it's fun (for likely everyone but Shayk) to fantasize about this fake pair going on to become two matrimonial creative powerhouses, the reality is that Gaga can be Cooper's muse without being his mistress. Suggestive body language aside, they may very well just be deeply connected friends.
Of course, only time will tell if Cooper and Gaga collaborate again (and by collaborate, we mean start dating). But for now, we can say with certainty that while there might have been 3,400 people at the Dolby Theater last night, for Gaga and Cooper, it seemed there were only two.
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