“La La Land” took home five BAFTAS including Best Picture as well as Best Director for Damien Chazelle who joined his leading Emma Stone backstage as she celebrated her Best Actress win. At this point in the night, the awards were coming thick and fast and the winners were bottle necking in the queue for the winners conference.
With time only for a couple of questions, I asked if Stone’s character who is an actress would ever win a BAFTA or an Oscar. Smiles and open mouths spread across the producers’ faces, while Stone laughed before asking Chazelle for his opinion: “That is a good question, what do you think?” “I’m curious to hear what you think,” came his response
They decided to answer together and leant into the microphone together: “On the count of three… one, two, three…” “Yes.” “Hopefully.” The assured ‘yes’ came from Chazelle while the optimistic ‘hopefully’ came from Stone. The ingenue was also asked, typically, how it felt to win a BAFTA: “I feel very overwhelmed. The jitters are indescribable. It’s a crazy, shaky feeling – that may be some cold medicine as well. But it’s a combination of cold medicine and excitement as well – I’m just incredibly excited.”
These wins mean Chazelle and Stone will continue as the Oscar favorites for Best Director and Best Actress. Currently, our odds chart has Chazelle in first place with 2/11 odds with Barry Jenkins of “Moonlight,” who was snubbed at BAFTA, in second at 9/1. Stone has 4/11 odds and is the frontrunner for the Oscar, with Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) at 7/1.
The BAFTA-winning producers of “La La Land” — Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, and Marc Platt — were introduced to us first, before the whole “La La Land” crew joined them on stage as well (including cinematographer Linus Sandgren and composer Justin Hurwitz who won, and editor Tom Cross, who sadly didn’t). These wins solidified its status as Oscar Best Picture frontrunner. It now has odds of 1/5 in that race while “Moonlight,” which was snubbed entirely by BAFTA on the night, is in second place at 14/1.
Platt revealed, “We started this process about six years so it is incredibly rewarding being up here right now. I don’t think in our wildest dreams would we have imagined this. It was a process which was very much about the people and the spirit of the piece and every day turning up to set was an absolute joy and an absolute thrill so to have our work recognized like this is just great.”
Berger explained to the room how the movie first came to them: “We were told by a friend to meet this young filmmaker, who had not even written ‘Whiplash’ at the time, named Damien Chazelle and he pitched us the idea of an old fashioned, romantic, musical love-letter to LA — jazz musician and actress fall in love – and we said that is utterly the worst idea we’ve ever heard. And if you’ve seen the film, the ending is not conventional Hollywood. Everything about it which made it challenging also made it exciting and from Damien, there was just a passion and a depth of knowledge that we’d never seen before so we jumped right in. But it took a huge family to make this movie. The harder it was, the more joyful it was. The last day of shooting was the saddest day.”
Asked about the film’s leading man, Ryan Gosling, the producers’ explained his absence (family matters) and were quick to heap praise onto the Oscar-nominee: “He is, as you would imagine and know of his work, a consummate actor – so he goes to extraordinary ends to prepare. It’s no different on this film than on any other film, so for three months he was rehearsing, playing the piano and became the pianist that you saw perform in the film. None of that is by accident, that s by hard work and the tone the inner life he brought to Sebastian – that’s Ryan Gosling.”
Hurwitz won the first BAFTA of the night for “La La Land” for his score. He’s the clear Oscar favorite in that race as well as for one BAFTA doesn’t have, Best Song. Backstage, he explained how flattering it is to hear that people love the music he created for the film so much: “Last week I had my piano tuned and my tuner told me he was tuning a piano earlier that day and the person’s kids were playing the sheet music for my songs – it was just so surreal.”
He also revealed his personal pick of his songs in the film; ‘City of Stars,’ to which the conference room full of journalists audibly cheered. “Just the way it works, it comes back a few times in the film and it really kind of represents the hopefulness matched with the pain that sometimes exists in love and in ambition.”
As to whether it will be a challenge to top his work in his project: “I’d like to think I’m always going to find a way to work harder and be better. When I have a project I get very obsessed. I have sort of tunnel vision and do everything I can to put as much time and energy into it so I don’t know what my next score is going to be but whatever it is, it has to be a movie that is inspiring to me and I’m just going to throw myself into it completely and try and make it as good as possible.”
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