Friends’ Central alumnus Benj Pasek ’03, with songwriting partner Justin Paul and collaborator Justin Hurwitz, received Academy Award nominations for two different songs in the Best Original Song category, “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, in the highly acclaimed film La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Pasek, Paul, and Hurwitz took home the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “City of Stars” earlier this month, beating out artists like Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda for the honor. In addition to Best Original Song, La La Land won a total of 7 Golden Globes.
Called “Soaring and gorgeous” by Vanity Fair, La La Land has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards – a tie with Titanic and All About Eve for the most in Academy Award history – including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Actor, and Best Actress. The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and features a score by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
Behind the scenes of La La Land are two more Friends’ Central alumni/ae. Mike Jackson ’90 and Ty Stiklorius ’93 are producing partners of John Legend, who co-stars with Gosling and Stone in the film. Legend, Jackson, and Stiklorius are the principals behind Get Lifted Film Co., the company that also produced WGN drama Underground, as well as the Barack and Michelle Obama romance Southside With You. More on Philly natives and FCS alums behind La La Land, check out this Philly.com article.
The Academy Awards ceremony takes place on February 26, 2017.