It was a La La Landslide in the Musical/Comedy Feature category tonight at the Golden Globes as the picture won in every category in which it was nominated and won the most Globes ever for a film. Only One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won before in all the major categories it was nominated in before. That was at the 1976 Globes.
The Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone starring favorite from Lionsgate led all other films with seven nominations going into the Golden Globes and danced away with a total of seven wins, including Best Picture Comedy/Musical, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Score and Song. From it’s opening song-and-dance number on a congested L.A. freeway (which was parodied by host Jimmy Fallon tonight), the film written and directed by 31 year-old Damien Chazelle, has dazzled the critics. La La Land is on virtually everyone’s Top Five list of best films of the year. To date, it has won Best Film from the New York Film Critics Circle, both Stone and Gosling have garnered SAG nominations and Chazelle was nominated by the WGA for Best Original Screenplay.
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The love story follows a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress who are both struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern Los Angeles, the original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.
La La Land is the Chazelle’s follow-up to his five-time Oscar-nominated Whiplash — it won three, including for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons who also appears in La La Land. Chazelle thanked his producers Fred Berger, Jordon Horowitz and Marc Platt in his acceptance speech tonight as well as Lionsgate “for taking a chance, taking a gamble.” He told Deadline last month how hard it was to get filmmakers interested in the film.
“There wasn’t a lot of excitement in the room when we initially pitched La La Land around town,” remembered Chazelle last month. “Here we are with an original musical, one that incorporates jazz, and a love story where the protagonists may not wind up together; everything was a further death knell. The genre itself, when it’s not based on a pre-existing property, is a scary thing, but the fact that there haven’t been any in a while was part of the appeal.”
After winning Best Picture – Comedy/Musical, producer Berger said, that a couple of years ago, “Making this fantasy was an utter fantasy.” He also praised their partner Lionsgate. “Thank you for jumping off a cliff and ignoring all conventional wisdom” and making the movie.
Gosling dedicated his Best Actor award to his brother-in-law Juan Carlos Mendez (brother to his wife, actress Eva Mendes) who died of cancer last April at the age of 53. Stone said she shared her award with other other struggling artists and encouraged them “to get up and keep moving forward.”
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year. La La Land began its rollout on Dec. 9 in limited release before going wide on Dec. 16. In limited release, it soon became the highest-grossing limited/prestige release of 2016. The film expanded to double its previous screen count this weekend (to 1,515 sites) and will shortly include IMAX screens. It has grossed $51.7M to date.
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