Princeton High Alum Takes Home Golden Globe for Best Director of a Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle, writer and director of “La La Land,” took home the Golden Globe for best director of a motion picture and best screenplay on Sunday night.

Chazelle beat out Tom Ford for “Nocturnal Animals,” Mel Gibson for “Hacksaw Ridge,” Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight” and Kenneth Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea.”

“La La Land” was nominated in seven categories and also won best picture for a musical or comedy. The film is about an aspiring actress and her jazz musician boyfriend, who struggle to make ends meet in Los Angeles. Ryan Gosling is Sebastian, a frustrated jazz pianist with dreams of opening his own club. He falls in love with Mia, an aspiring actress played by Emma Stone. Film critics have called the movie musical “a love letter to the dreamers of Los Angeles.” Gosling and Stone also won Golden Globes for best actor and actress in a musical or comedy for their performances in “La La Land.” The New York Film Critics Circle named “La La Land” the best picture of 2016.

Chazelle is the son of Celia Chazelle, a writer and professor of history at The College of New Jersey, and Bernard Chazelle, a French-born professor of computer science at Princeton University. He was born in Rhode Island and grew up in Princeton, where he discovered a passion for music in the Princeton High jazz band. He studied film making at Harvard University after he graduated from Princeton High. His intense music teacher in high school was the inspiration for the character of Terence Fletcher in his 2014 film “Whiplash,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive five Academy Award nominations, including best picture. Chazelle received a nomination for best adapted screenplay.

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