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How Emma Stone And Ryan Gosling Were Crucial To ‘La La Land’s 14 Academy Awards

La La Land has been phenomenal and it’s projected to make history at tonight’s 89th Academy Awards. Here’s how Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling made that happen.

Accolades and public praise already decorate La La Land and it will come into the 89th Academy Awards tonight bearing an astounding 14 nominations, a feat that only two other movies were ever able to achieve: 1950’s All About Eve and 1997’s Titanic.

La La Land has been nominated at the Academy Awards for the following: Best Picture, Best Director (for Chazelle), Best Actor (for Ryan Gosling), Best Actress (for Emma Stone), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, two nominations for Best Original Song (“City of Stars” and “Audition”), Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. But Mashablenotes that while the best it could win is only (only, yes, we used only) 13 Academy Awards, it is possible that La La Land will really only bag 11 Oscars, on par with Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), and Ben-Hur (1959).

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for La La Land at the Golden Globes [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for La La Land at the Golden Globes [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

But apart from the numbers and the odds and the speculations, there is no denying that much of the success and sparkle that La La Land held is also thanks to the masterful performances and input of its stars, Emma Stone as Mia Dolan and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian Wilder.

La La Land director Damien Chazelle tells Entertainment Weekly that much of the rewriting of the scenes were based from input and experimentation of lead actors Stone and Gosling. Apparently, these two had put much insight into how their characters approached the conflict, which then made it into the rewrite of the final cut.

La La Land scene where Mia and Sebastian talks about Seb's.
La La Land scene where Mia and Sebastian talks about Seb’s.

This exact scene was one that Chazelle shares the team has written and rewritten numerous times.

This was one of the scenes that I think I wrote and rewrote and rewrote more than any other in the script. The scene was always there structurally. In earlier drafts, I think it used to get even more explosive toward the end. Then we kind of paired it down into something simplified and made it slightly more under-the-surface in the final version.

Apparently, Emma and Ryan ultimately were the key to getting the final version of this scene pat down to a tee.

Once Ryan and Emma came on board, it went through a whole new set of rewrites because it was one of the scene that we spent the most time rehearsing. Sometimes they would just improvise whole versions of it, and I would transcribe the improvisations, then kind of curate and see what I liked from that and put those into script form. Other times, I would also have separate conversations with each of them about their particular side of the scene and where their character was coming from.

Another scene, the breakup scene where Mia and Sebastian blew the top of their heads over a special dinner prepared by Sebastian, was also topped off by Ryan Gosling himself.

Director Damien Chazelle talks about Ryan's and Emma's contribution in La La Land [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF]
Director Damien Chazelle talks about Ryan’s and Emma’s contribution in La La Land [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF]

The specific ending to that La La Land scene where Sebastian pulls out a burnt apple pie from the oven, Chazelle shares, was suggested by Gosling.

There’s this one place in L.A. that makes 25-pound apple pies. It was a place that Ryan told me about, and we agreed that it seemed like that would be just the sort of weird touch that Sebastian would insist on adding to this dinner he created for Mia. It couldn’t be too normal of a dinner. He’s not just burning a few apples. He’s burning probably five orchards.

Another crucial part of La La Land, if not the most crucial, is the singing and dancing that went into the musical parts of it, which were made magical by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (well La La Land did score two nominations on the Academy Awards’ Best Original Song alone).

And if you wondered whether it was really Emma and Ryan doing the singing and the dancing and the playing of the piano, Pop Sugar confirms that it was them. In fact, Ryan Gosling spent three months learning and perfecting his piano solos.

Chazelle says at a La La Land press event:

In fact, there’s not a single close-up shot of Sebastian’s hands in the entire movie that’s a piano double. It’s all Ryan. Even John Legend, who has a smaller part in the film, was impressed. “I was jealous, man,” he said. “Watching him play, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is really good and he just learned this in the last few months.’ It’s pretty amazing.

Thankfully, Lions Gate, one of the producers and distributors of La La Land, pushed Chazelle to ram up his budget for La La Land to $30 million, Live Mint reports. This additional budget has made way for La La Land able to get the very expensive Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling on board the ship that’s now sailing to the Academy Awards—and it was all worth it.

Will La La Land sweep the Academy Awards? [Image by Summit Entertainment]
Will La La Land sweep the Academy Awards? [Image by Summit Entertainment]

How many Awards do you think will La La Land land at the Academy Awards tonight? Will the team set Academy Awards history with 13 Oscars?

[Featured image by Summit Entertainment]

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