It’s a golden night for Justin Hurwitz and La La Land.
On Sunday at the 89th annual Academy Awards, Hurwitz won best original score for his work on the Damien Chazelle-directed film.
“Thank you to my very, very good friend Damien — I’m so glad I met you,”Hurwitz said in his acceptance speech, before thanking the cast and crew, and the musicians who brought his composition to life. “Thank you to all the LA musicians who played on this score. I just put notes on a page, and they’re the ones who played it and made it sound beautiful the way it was.”
This marks Hurwitz’s first year being nominated at the Oscars; he scored three total nominations, with two La La Land tracks up for best original song. In total, the film has a record-tying 14 nominations.
“I always start at the piano before I orchestrate anything,” Hurwitz previously shared with EW. “I’m always just working at the piano trying to find the melodies, and that can be a very, very long process. I spent about two years composing the music before we even shot the movie. I did a little over 1,900 piano demos, just trying to find themes that we think are going to stick in people’s minds.”
The composer has been dominating the awards circuit, having already won a BAFTA award, two Critics’ Choice awards, and two Golden Globes for his musical duties on the film. A former Harvard classmate of Chazelle, Hurwitz also scored the director’s past two feature projects, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench and Whiplash.
The other nominees in the category were Mica Levi for Jackie, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka for Lion, Nicholas Britell for Moonlight, and Thomas Newman for Passengers.