Oscar 2017: Damien Chazelle, Youngest Best Director Winner?

Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed the original musical La La Land, was in Beijing when he learned that his film had tied the all-time record for most Oscar nominations for a single film with 14: best picture, best director (Chazelle), best actor (Ryan Gosling), best actress (Emma Stone), best original screenplay (Chazelle), best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing, best original score, best original song (both “Audition” and “City of Stars”), best production design, best sound editing and best sound mixing.

He told the estimable Hollywood Reporter Oscar guru, Scott Feinstein, on the phone:

“It’s really unbelievable. Just after it was announced, my girlfriend got a text message and told me how many nominations we’d gotten, and I really thought she was just kind of saying what she hoped would happen or was, like, bullshitting me. It took me so long to believe it — I had to ask her literally three times before I actually believed her. We’re all at this hotel in Beijing to promote the movie, so we quickly ran down the hall to Ryan’s room and barged in.

Tying with All About Eve and Titanic with 14 nominations?

“It’s surreal and it’s hard to put into words. I’m a little speechless. I love both of those films so much, so it’s obviously an honor. But the biggest honor of all is that so many people that I got to make this movie with have gotten recognized for it. That really just means the world to me.

Oscar impact?

I’ve always thought of awards season, at its core, as a good way to shine a spotlight on movies that can benefit from that spotlight, movies that are maybe not the most obviously commercial movies that Hollywood produces. We’re still in the process of opening this movie throughout the world — that’s why we’re in China right now — and we’re expanding into more theaters in America in the coming weeks. My hope is just that any kind of recognition maybe inspires more people to take a chance on a musical, even if they thought they would never be caught dead seeing a musical.

Skippy, the first comic-book movie adaptation, was directed by Norman Taurog, who was 32 (and 260 days).  On Oscar night, Chazelle will be 32 years and 39 days

“I can’t really wrap my head around that. I’m trying not to think too much about that. I never expected any of this for this movie, which any nominee can probably say sincerely…..