Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.
From Jimmy Fallon’s pre-recorded opening to its final category, Damien Chazelle’s modern musical ode to Los Angeles dominated the 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony on January 8, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills in a "La La Land" Landslide.
Chazelle's “La La Land” went seven for seven to become the winningest movie in the history of the awards ceremony. Before Sunday night, only two films had won six Golden Globes: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Midnight Express.” “La La Land” won Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Screenplay (Chazelle), Best Original Score (Justin Hurwitz) and Best Original Song for “City of Stars” (Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul).
Stone thanked her family and friends, noting that she came to Los Angeles 13 years ago this week. Stone then commented, “So to any creative person who has had a door slammed in their face, either metaphorically or physically, or actors who have had their auditions cut off or have waited for a callback that didn’t come or anybody anywhere, really, that feels like giving up sometimes, but finds it in themselves to get up and keep moving forward, I share this with you.”
When Gosling accepted his Globe, he addressed Chazelle and Stone that “this belongs to the three of us” and offered to chop it up (before each won their own awards). Gosling also endeared himself to fans everywhere by noting his partner Eva Mendes: “You don’t get to be up here without standing on the shoulders of a mountain of people, and there’s just no time to thank everyone. I just would like to thank one person properly and say while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer. If she hadn’t taken all of that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today. So sweetheart, thank you. To my daughters Amada and Esmeralda, I love you. And if I may, I’d like to dedicate this to the memory of her brother Juan Carlos Mendes.”
Upon winning for Best Original Score, Hurwitz said, “There was this spirit across the movie where people kind of worked harder than they’re used to working, and went to bed later than they’re used to going to bed, and wore more hats if they needed to, and didn’t believe they created something so unique that allowed us to put so much of ourselves into it. So we didn’t want to take it for granted, and everybody worked so hard and so passionately.”
Paul and Pasek seemed overwhelmed on receiving the Best Original Song Golden Globe. After Paul noted they share the award with Hurwitz, Pasek noted, “This is beyond our wildest expectations. This is for musical theater nerds everywhere. Thank you for this.”
Backstage, Chazelle also noted, “When Ryan and Emma came on to the film, they pushed us to make a more sophisticated version than what we were playing with before.”
Chazelle reminded everyone that making “La La Land” was a six-year journey and making the movie was a gamble. Backstage, he also said, “The biggest dream come true was the first day of shooting and rolling and being surrounded by people like Emma, Ryan and my crew.”
After “La La Land” won for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), in her backstage comments, Stone explained, “There’s something about these two characters, about what they are going through is very realistic and human even in the kind of fantastical circumstances where they are singing and dancing and everything is colorful. I think two people struggling in that way and falling in love and how it ultimately unfolds is something that I think everybody can relate to in some way.”
Chazelle added, “It was important to us to make a love story for the modern era. Look at the way we do things now. In some ways, it matches the old ways and others, it doesn’t. One needs to move forward. Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake is not a place you should live in. You should honor the past, whether it is how you love or how you make any art.”
“La La Land” has momentum, but it wasn’t competing directly against the much acclaimed drama “Moonlight” for a Best Motion Picture Golden Globe. Best Actor and Actress are separated into drama and musical/comedy categories, but “Moonlight” didn’t score nominations in the Best Actor/Actress (Drama) categories that went to Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”). Huppert’s win caused an audible gasp in the press room.
The Hollywood Foreign Press favored Chazelle over “Moonlight” Barry Jenkins for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Justin Hurwitz took “Best Original Score” over Nicholas Britell (“Moonlight”). Aaron Taylor-Johnson won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Nocturnal Animals,” beating competitors like Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight.”
Oscar nominations will be announced January 24, 2017. Final voting runs from February 13-21. When the Oscars roll out its red carpet on Sunday, February 26, 2017, Chazelle and company will know if their dreams will finally come true in this city of stars.
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