Damien Chazelle and La La Land took the top feature film honor tonight at the 69th annual DGA Awards. Garth Davis took the First-Time Feature Director trophy for Lion and ESPN’s O.J. Made in America took the Documentary honor.
On the TV side, HBO’s Game of Thrones and Veep, were repeat winners, taking home their second consecutive trophies for drama and comedy series, respectively.
The guild also honored Ridley Scott with its Lifetime Achievement Award, its longtime National Executive Director Jay D. Roth with its Presidents Award; and Thomas Schlamme with the Robert B. Aldrich Service award and Marie Cantin with the Frank Capra Achievement award.
Here’s how it all went down.
Welcome to the DGA Awards 2017. Currently running 26 minutes late. I hope nobody has plans tomorrow.
Last year they started on time @7p, but ended at 11:30pm with many mini-breaks in between.
But more importantly, let’s talk stats. The award has always been the ultimate Oscar barometer, veering only 7 times in its 69 year history.
Those are all off the top of his head, you know.
That’s right, they are. ;-)
A post shared by Kevin Nealon (@kevinnealon) on
The other thing Joe is who is going to sound off tonight. Every awards show has been on a role in regards to presenters & winners protesting Trump. Wonder if anyone tonight will top the ‘Stranger Things’ cast at the SAGs.
There are plenty of likely candidates on the tip sheet for tonight. This season the question is, more economically, who won’t say anything?
Unlike other awards shows, each nominee gets a big speech and presentation by an actor associated with their film. It’s a very royal ceremony — even if you lose. It’s not like you leave the room feeling empty-handed.
If only there was a director around here to yell “action”.
We’re still waiting for the show to begin. Many believe ‘La La Land’s Damien Chazelle will take the big feature award tonight. Stay tuned.
Joe is referring to the show…which we’re told will start in 4 minutes.
OK here we go.
With the traditional awards show montage. At the DGA this includes movies, documentaries, tv shows and commercials.
DGA Prez Paris Barclay comes out to do his intro
57 nominated projects, he says
He summarizes the various deals the DGA has worked out on behalf of its membership this year.
Barclay says that the new deal ratified will bring enormous gains to members, particularly in the area of digital platforms, i.e. SVOD.
Refreshing/terrifying advice from Barclay. “Keep your thanks as long as humanely possible until people’s eyes bleed. No-one cares. Everyone wants you to go on and on and on. I really want you to add an hour and a half to this evening by talking forever, like I’m doing right now. See how annoying this is?”
True to his word, Paris Barclay is listing the names of everyone in the audience. Sort of.
Barclay talks about “what’s really on my mind. I wouldn’t be here at all if not for immigrants.”
“We are founding members of the DGA, early members like Billy Wilder and Fritz Lang who fled Germany, they are folded into the fabric of the directors’ guild. We have a huge international membership and this open exchange of ideas is who we are and what motion pictures and television is increasingly about. Transcending borders is what we live for. From Kurosawa to Innaritu, our winners are international, our audiences are international. The DGA is and always will be a home for all directors.”
“If anyone in the name of greatness chooses to block or to seperate or divide, we are going to stand with the people who are like our forefathers and foremothers who sought to tell stories of compassion and empathy.”
“The things that you’ve contributed to society have changed the way people think. The world desperately needs our stories. They desperately need to be convinced there’s a better way.”
“That’s my soapbox for tonight. It pisses me off!”
A Harbouresque rant and not a single award has yet been handed out.
Paris says Jane Lynch was “unavailable” this year. We cut to Jane in the audience thinking, “That’s why I’m sitting at the foreign children’s documentary table.”
‘Thinks’ Lynch, “I wonder if Ryan Gosling is using fillers yet.”
John Singleton comes out to present the First-Time Filmmaker award
One nominee here is also nominated for the big one: that’d be Garth Davis of Lion.
Singleton is telling a long story about his first film. “For you first-time directors, I’ve been there.”
A rare nod in this list for Kelly Fremon Craig, whose excellent The Edge of Seventeen hasn’t has as much love as it has deserved this season.
Also Deadpool, which has had more love than most were expecting – but no less deserving. Other nominees are Nate Parker for Birth of a Nation and Dan Trachtenberg for 10 Cloverfield Lane
WINNER – FIRST TIME FEATURE FILM: Garth Davis, Lion
Davis: “First time up here as well.”
Davis: “I was gifted such a magnificent and beautiful story. With that came immense responsibility.”
Comedy Series is next. Noms are Alec Berg for Silicon Valley “Daily Active Users”, Donald Glover for Atlanta “B.A.N.”, Mike Judge for Silicon Valley “Founder Friendly”, Becky Martin for Veep “Inauguration” and Dale Sern for Veep “Mother”
WINNER – COMEDY SERIES: Becky Martin – Veep “Inauguration”
Martin: “I thought I was coming all the way from the UK for a dinner. I’m British so it’s not an impossibility.”
She thanks creator Armando Iannucci who brought her to the US and started a career “that has literally changed my life”. Iannucci left the show this past season. She also thanks Dave Mandel, who took over.
America Fererra emerges to present Commercials. On the running order, this was supposed to be Kerry Washington.
Backstage, Lion director is asked about Trump’s immigration policy and adopting kids from outside the country. Garth Davis responds, “Love has no borders.”
Derek Cianfrance is the most notable of this category’s nominees, for his Nike Golf, Powerade and Squarespace work.
WINNER – COMMERCIALS: Derek Cianfrance
Cianfrance thanks a lot of people and leaves.
Outside of Paris’ opening remarks, no major rants three awards in. Alas, it’s still early.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling come out to fete La La Land, the first of tonight’s five nominee fetings. They’re being Professionally Adoreable™
Gosling brings the Damien Chazelle facts: “He directed his birth in one take. His dreams can provide enough energy to power Ohio for five days. He invented the color burnt orange.”
Emma impersonates Damien’s pitch for La La Land…how he wanted to have his friend from college do the music and close down two freeways. Gosling responds, “It is decided that Damien is Frenchier than baguettes and he’s told that he should hit the bricks.”
Chazelle comes up to receive his feting. He thanks people. “This means an especial amount to me because I’m a moviemaker because I’m a movie lover. Three years old watching Cinderella on a loop. I felt that movies were powerful because they speak to everyone: all countries all cultures.” He discovered the French New Wave “a big moment for me”. “They looked at what was happening in the world and they smashed [those issues] together to make their best movies. That transnational dialogue was the best place for stories to come from.”
Chazelle: “They watched american movies not understanding the language, but they understood the language of cinema, and they could see what Hawks and Hitchcock and people who were undervalued in their country were doing.”
Chazelle: “I’ve learned from the movies of Asghar Farhadi, who comes from a country my country tells me I shouldn’t be in dialogue with.”
Chazelle: “That’s what it’s about for me, that art can make someone anywhere in the world feel like the world is bigger.”
A pre-record bit with Anna Chlumsky and Jane Lynch in the bathroom. So Jane is “secretly” hosting this year.
It finishes with her vowing to host, and she introduces Gale Anne Hurd to give out the Frank Capra award to Marie Cantin.
Marie Cantin was the Unit Production Manager on films such as Collateral, Dante’s Peak and Big Fat Liar. She’s being feted for her work for the DGA.
Cantin comes up to accept. “On behalf of all ADs and UPMs everywhere who never get a chance to walk a red carpet: I’m wearing Ralph Lauren and these earrings are mine for another eleven hours.”
Cantin says her parents taught her to work hard, respect people different from her, and always tell the truth. “What did I decide to do with this ethical wisdom? I moved to Hollywood.”
While no one is screaming Down with Trump, there is a constant theme about the respect for immigrants tonight. Marie Cantin originally from French Canada, moved to Ethiopia, then came to the U.S.
Cantin urges the industry to “take a chance on a young woman. Or break with tradition entirely and take a chance on a young man.”
Tony Hale and Kevin Nealon emerge to present Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming & Specials, which is a mouthful.
Kevin Nealon & Tony Hale presenting variety/talk/news sports…Hale remarks on the booming digital platforms. Nealon says, “And when you see someone on their portable device, odds are they’re watching porn.” To which Hale responds, “When they’re not watching porn, they’re watching a wide variety of quality programming such as tonight’s nominees.”
WINNER – VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIALS: Glenn Weiss for The 70th Annual Tony Awards
It’s an award for an awards show, handed out at an awards show.
Weiss tips his hat to Linda Mendoza, a fellow nominee who had an all-female team for Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House. “I hope when my kids are old enough to be here an all-female team won’t have to be pointed out.”
Weiss salutes Les Moonves for keeping the arts on television and says “I hope they take notice in Washington D.C.” about the importance of that.
Nealon says “it’s rare for Tony and I to come to an event if there’s no chance of winning anything,” but this is a great opportunity for them to meet lots of directors who might have projects. Says Hale: “But it has to be porn.”
WINNER – VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING: Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live, Host: Dave Chappelle
Don can’t be here so Hale and Nealon accept on his behalf. “Yeah, we won something!” jokes Nealon.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar emerge to fete Garth Davis and Lion. “This man here can sum it up,” Kidman says. “Thank you, I love you Garth!” says Pawar, adorably.
Davis comes out for round two tonight. He shows a picture Sunny drew for him, adorably.
Davis keeps Pawar with him while he explains how much of a pro the kid is, adorably.
Kerry Washington comes out to present Children’s Programs
Garth Davis on Lion: “The film has given people the courage to adopt. And refugees the courage to find the family that they’ve had to leave behind in fleeing a situation. You make a movie and it has a second life. This is one of those movies.”
WINNER – CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS: Tina Mabry, An American Girl Story: Melody 1963: Love Has to Win
Mabry, in an excellent golden tux jacket, comes to stage. Amongst her thanks, Ava DuVernay “who believed in me when no-one else did”
Mabry: “Melody is the kind of story that’ll make you laugh, cry and sing, although you do not want to hear me singing. It’s also something we learn from a 10 year old girl who’s being bullied by a childhood classmate, affectionately called Donald. 2017 is starting to resemble 1963. We have a problem and being silent is not the way to go about it. Be vocal, be loud. This is a country that is for everybody no matter where you come from or whoever you are. This is a country that made my marriage legal. Remember to alwasy stand up for what’s right, especially when it’s hard. We might have to remember, too, that every American, no matter what, you have to follow the words of a 10 year old little girl in this film. Love has to, and will always win.”
Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding out to present Documentary
all doc nominees are first time ones, just like in the feature category.
“One director will be one for one” says Paulson. “And the rest will spend the rest of the night saying it’s an honor to be nominated, but we’ll know that’s some bulls–t” says Cuba.
WINNER – DOCUMENTARY: Ezra Edelman, O.J. Made in America
It’s almost as if the directors’ guild knew who was going to be winning, getting the stars of The People v. O.J. Simpson to present.
Edelman to Cuba: “This is as close as I’m getting to OJ”
Edelman: “This was a labor of… labor.”
Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes emerge to fete Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. And they seem to be having a cracker of a night.
Rhodes: “I think every single one of us have a unique story to tell about how it was an incredibly special moment to work with [Barry] on set.”
Rhodes says he went to audition for the wrong role, and Barry said, “I’m gonna do you a favor and bring you back”. Sanders has trouble with the autocue. Rhodes reads for him, as he mimes. This is the best presentation of the night.
Hibbert: “OK, I will get this right,” he insists. “For me this was an entire experience. My first experience, my first role, my first time on a movie set, and my first time working with someone as amazing as Barry. In the process I learned how to swim, and considering I live in Miami it really came in handy.”
A much faster pace than last year’s DGA. We are already halfway through at an hour and 15 minutes. Bravo DGA. Last year, there were pauses in the show for the switching out of cutlery.
You’re jinxing it, Tony. There’ll be a massive gap now.
Jenkins comes up as Rhodes grabs Hibbert off stage. “Thank you fellas. They’re gonna buy me a house some day, so make sure you get used to their faces.”
Jenkins: “A movie is a like a pyramid, the director is at the top but the base gets larger as you go down.”
“I never felt like I was making a movie for $1.5M, I felt like I had everything at my disposal,” says Jenkins.
Jenkins tells a lovely story about coming to the awards as a guest in the year Capote came out. How much he loved being in the room.
“So many terms of endearment though this process,” says Jenkins about his directing career.
Christine Lahti comes out to present the Robert B. Aldrich Service Award to Thomas Schlamme
“We’ve been married a f–king long time,” Lahti jokes.
Darnell Martin was an early mentor to Jenkins, took him under her wing and to the DGA show. He remembers watching Bennett Miller win for Capote. He mentioned that in coming up as a director with the DGA, ”It felt like the warmest hand on my back.’….I know what that feels like” says Jenkins.
Schlamme talks about the immigrant journey in his family history. I
Schlamme on his parents: “Their patriotism was one of the greatest gifts. They learnt first hand [after fleeing Nazi Germany] the importance of freedom”
Schlamme: “Noam Chomsky said, ‘Labor unions are the leading force for democracy and progress.’ This quote so accurately describes the DGA. Our guild is a shining example of democracy. 16,000 strong all working together for one purpose: to tell stories. For each member who proceded us, who fought so hard for our economic and creative protection, there are fresh voices to keep this democracy vibrant.”
Schlamme: “This is our guild. Progressive and democratic, and it should not be taken for granted.”
Anna Chlumsky presenting Reality Programs
Jane Lynch steals her podium. “I am taking back the show.”
Chlumsky: “I didn’t mean for you to take my spot.”
“The makers of reality television gave me this note to read,” says Chlumsky. “‘Sorry about that guy from The Apprentice, our bad.’ Yeah. Ok. In our brave new world of alternative facts, it’s never been more fitting that we have an entire genre of television called ‘reality’.”
WINNER – REALITY PROGRAMS: J. Rupert Thompson, American Grit “The Finale Over The Falls”
Thompson: “I’m so honored to have the alternative facts award tonight.”
It’s the turn of Kenneth Lonergan to receive a right feting for Manchester by the Sea. Casey Affleck comes out. “I know everyone wants to get out of here so I’ll try to be as quick as I can.”
He sees Lonergan. “Oh man he’s right in front of me, s–t. I take it back, you’re a real piece of work.”
“I think that Kenny is the greatest director who really hates directing.”
He compares Lonergan’s “look of agony” on set to the mother of his children in the long hours of labor.
“There was a moment he said, ‘I just want to go home. Can I go home?'” Another solid presentation from Affleck.
Affleck’s reading off the autocue now, but adding his own comments to the flowery feting language. “‘Manchester by the Sea is as unpredictable as the currents.’ I knew they were going to do a sea pun in here somewhere.”
“‘One can find a port no matter what.’ That’s two of them!”
Lonergan steps up. “Thank you, uh, Casey…”
Lonergan to Affleck: “You read the teleprompter as if it wasn’t true.”
Lonergan: “I do find directing difficult although I don’t hate it. I’m sure I said I hated it many times, but that was meant to be a private conversation.”
Lonergan: “I could aspire and dream to become a director but I could never be a first AD. That’s the person who makes the movie.” He thanks his absent first.
Lonergan: “I want to thank Casey Affleck for giving his full lacerating heart to this performance. It was a privilege to work on the film with him and the rest of the cast.”
The current and past presidents of the DGA come out to present Jay D. Roth with the DGA Presidents Awards. We have Paris Barclay, Michael Apted, Martha Coolidge, Taylor Hackford and Gene Reynolds.
This award has only been given three times in the history of the guild. To Gil Cates, Robert Wise and George Sydney. Barclay: “Jay, we consider you in that pantheon.”
Roth: “This was wonderful, but to be frank it’s a tremendous amount of effort to avoid paying for a retirement dinner.”
Roth wraps up his speech with an inscription from a headstone in Normandy. “‘Leadership is great courage and wisdom combined with a carelessness of self’. May we all live up to this ideal. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”
Laverne Cox slides in from the slips to present Movies for Television and Mini-Series
But wait, Jane Lynch tries to steal the mic again.
WINNER – MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES: Steven Zallian, The Night Of “The Beach”
Zallian: “We felt we were making a long movie, so I’d also like to acknowledge the people who worked on the seven other episodes.”
Steve Zallian’s speech seems to be coming from a sheet written up in Final Draft – the consumate writer.
Zallian: “Some of my actors are from parts of the world including Iran. I hope they can still get into this country and share their talents with us.”
Amy Adams is presenting the medallion to Denis Villeneuve for Arrival.
She’s a fete accomplice. (Sorry)
Amy Adams puts on a French accent. “It’s my turn to tell him, I deeply love what you have done.”
Villeneuve: “I’m coming from a snowbank in the north where I was raised watching your movies. My heroes are directors and some of them are in this room. I have done a lot of therapy and I still feel like an imposter tonight.”
Villeneuve looks at his paper. “No. That speech doesn’t work at all, so I will improvise.”
Villeneuve on Canada: “Our guilds are very strong because we’re almost a socialist country according to your new standards.”
Villeneuve: “As a foreigner I never felt as welcome and respected as I am in United States. Every morning the first thing I do is go on Twitter to see if my visa is still legal. I deeply love working here.”
Very interesting, except for Chazelle referring to Asghar Farhadi, many of this year’s DGA feature film nominated directors haven’t worn their politics on their sleeves tonight.
Not as expressive as actors, apparently.
Christopher Nolan pops out to give Ridley Scott his lifetime achievement award. With a straight face he says, “I’m thrilled… this is me thrilled.”
Nolan: “If I had to point to one filmmaker that inspired me to get into films, it would be Sir Ridley Scott.”
Nolan: “Everything you see on film or television today carries the echo and reverberation of the artistry of [commercials directors]. He did all that before he ever made a feature film.”
Nolan introduces Billy Crudup and Michael Fassbender to walk through Scott’s career.
Both star in Alien: Covenant. Says Crudup. “Opening May at a theater near you, check your local listings.”
Fassbender: “Everyone fortunate to work with Ridley Scott walks around set two feet taller because they know they have reached the pinnacle of their craft.”
“In an age of equality, Ridley set the standard when he gave us Ripley in Alien. He said, ‘My mum was the boss, she laid down the law, and the law was god.'” Fassbender.
A mention of Tony Scott, playing the lead in Ridley’s first short, gets a round of applause from the director-heavy audience.
Ridley is looking super, super embarrassed about all this fuss in the audience. Having spent time on set with him on two of his films, I’m pretty sure this is making him very, very uncomfortable. So well deserved, of course.
“This is the disembodied voice of Russell Crowe” who “would have prefered to be there tonight, but due to the digital age and budget constraints, the DGA asked me to phone this in.”
Crowe: “Does it ever get tiring, Ridley? All the awards, the glad-handing, the knighthoods? Well it’s all your own bloody fault. Look at what you’ve achieved in – let’s call it – a half century of work.”
A lovely tribute video narrated by Crowe, who says, “Ridley just finished a mini-series… Since I started talking.”
Crowe: “For better or worse, the moving image is our dominant form of cultural expression. And Ridley, as we all know, is a master of the medium. An alchemist of sound and image.”
Crowe: “He breaks our hearts with two chicks in a convertible and makes Mars a cool place to visit someday.”
Really upset that Fassbender didn’t refer to the Porsche scene in The Counselor. Great joke fodder.
Crowe: “I wonder if Ridley has ever stopped to consider – he never stops, that’s well known – that he has inspired two whole generations of our history.”
Crowe: “The time to get a lifetime award is when we don’t even realize we’re stealing from you anymore.”
Ridley comes up, his face bright red.
In the audience, Kingdom of Heaven star Orlando Bloom whoops. Scott: “I’m really pissed off that Steve Zallian got a directing award, because now he thinks he’s a director he won’t want to write for me anymore. One of the hardest things to do is write a script, so my heart goes out to Mr. Zallian who’s a magnificent director now. Damnit.”
Ridley says he will not be talking about politics. Instead, he’s running through some career highlights. Starting with his short with Tony Scott, when Ridley was 21, Tony 15.
Scott: “It’s pretty good – a half-hour movie, £65. So anyone complaining about their budget should shut the f–k up, OK?”
He’s talking about the growth of RSA, his advertising enterprise.
Scott on his debut The Duellists, set in the Napoleonic Wars: “Sounds very grand, but it was free because it was public domain.”
He worries about naming names in a story. “I hope I don’t get sued. If I get sued, what the f–k, right? I can afford it.”
Scott bemoans the non-existence of Harvey Weinstein when The Duellists came out. “It won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes; Harvey would have made hay about that.” Instead, Scott went back to commercials.
Now he’s talking about “jumping all over” Alien. He says “I’m not going to go through all of my movies.” Pretty sure everyone in the room would like him to do just that.
“I was always impreseed with what Orson Welles had done with his very first film [Citizen Kane]. He was 19 at the time of making Citizen Kane. He’s the reason I was so attracted to our world, with all its challenges. One might apply the word ‘genius’ to a jack of all trades and a master of all… except for politics and hollywood.”
“Then of course” he turns around to Crudup and Fassbenders “There’s the thespians. [To directors in the audience] I admire your courage in dealing with actors. They can actually be quite friendly in the morning if you approach them in their trailers with a cup of coffee.”
He says “try not to punch people, because I’ve come close, sometimes.”
Scott: “DGA Award is the greatest award for me. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of this exclusive membership.”
Scott credits David Puttnam for vouching for him to make the Duelists for $800K to the Paramount execs at the time: Barry Diller, Mike Eisner & Jeffrey Katzenberg. He went over schedule, the execs forgot that the film was even being made. It made its way to Cannes where Scott won the Grand Jury Prize, and that opened the floodgates for the director getting noticed for Alien.
Home stretch now. Helen Mirren comes out to present Dramatic Series. Only two more to go.
Mirren: “There’s one thing the nominees in this category have in common. I’ve been to bed with all of them… binge-watching.”
Scott was 5th on the list to direct Alien. — Walter Hill, George Roy Hill, Robert Altman passed on directing, “They clearly hadn’t bought into the concept of an object popping out of an actor’s chest.”
Winner TV Drama Series: Miguel Sapochnik ‘Game of Thrones’ – “The Battle of the Bastards”
He beats our John Singleton who helmed People v. OJ, “Race Card”; Jonathan Nolan for ‘Westworld’ –“The Original”, Ryan Murphy for P v OJ, From the Ashes of Tragedy, AND Matt and Ross Duffer for ‘Stranger Things – Chapter One-The Vanishing of Will Byers”
A last Jane Lynch bit, stealing the mic from the announcer.
Coming down to the homestretch here with the final feature award which will be given out by last year’s winner, Revenant’s Alejandro G. Inarritu….four of tonight’s DGA feature noms sync with Oscar: Chazelle for La La Land, Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea, Villeneuve for Arrivla and Jenkins for Moonlight. Only place where DGA and Oscars don’t see eye to eye: Oscars nominated Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge, while DGA honored Garth Davis for Lion.
She comes on stage and calls Paris Barclay “my second favorite black president. And please do a better job of replacing this one.”
Lynch: “Hello La La Land, great to make my Arrival on this night of beautiful Moonlight. I’d be Lion if i said I didn’t love all the movies this year. Manchester by the Sea, I couldn’t figure out how to put that into a sentence.”
Inarritu: “I’ve been trying the last two weeks to maintain a diet of news, but Denis being so worried about his work visa, I suddenly had a panic attack about my recent green card. Thank you Denis for ruining my night. The main thing separating humans from other species is we cook our food and we create our stories. Out lives are shaped by the stories the ones who came before us told us. The ultimate question we’re forced to ask ourselves is whether or not our stories are good or bad. We all know the story being written now is really, really bad. Actually it’s a bad remake of one of the worst stories of the last century. The only way we win is by telling good, complex and truthful human stories. No alternative facts or false statistics will defeat that, never. The filmmakers, the amazing filmmakers we celebrate tonight, have done just that. We are all grateful for it very much. As a Mexican and a human being first and foremost I feel incredibly proud and humbled to have been recognized by this amazing inclusive and diverse guild.”
Best Feature Film Winner: Damien Chazelle for ‘La La Land’
So after a night low on big political, Inarritu gets in at the last minute to take his stand.
Chazelle ends the night on a handful of quick thank-yous, and we wrap with the main show.
Chazelle is coming backstage with his entire team.
Chazelle backstage: “I wrote this movie six years ago in a very different time. What seemed like a more hopeful time. I would hope that the movie gives some kind of hope and if there’s one message I want to get across, it’s just chasing those dreams no matter how unrealistic they seem. It creates a ripple effect, I really do believe that.”
Chazelle backstage: “I agree that all art has at least a political dimension. The art becomes the world once it is released. I always really responded to a lot of the older movies that were sometimes at the time dismissed as genre fluff. In retrospect those movies feel like they say a great deal about what was going on. Jacques Demy films talking about the Algerian war or stuff going on in France. If it boils down to a message I wanted to celebrate the act of dreaming and what art means. I want to be part of that transnational dialogue of art and movies, because it’s so central.”
Chazelle backstage on his shoutout to Asghar Farhadi: “For decades America has had a troubled relationship with Iran, and yet Iranian cinema has been, at least for me, a window to a place I have never been to. That’s what film meant to me as a kid. As soon as we get into a business of excluding voices and filmmakers because they’re from a part of the world we’ve decided aren’t useful to us anymore, it’s anti-art and so counter to the basis of what art should be.”