Here’s to the ones who dream of crafting award-winning movie musicals.
Damien Chazelle, the 31-year-old wunderkind filmmaker behind 2014’s Oscar-winning hit Whiplash, has won the Golden Globe for Best Director for his work on La La Land, a whirlwind love story pulsing with nostalgic energy, spirited performances, and highly-choreographed dance numbers set against the backdrop of contemporary Los Angeles.
Accepting the award Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, Chazelle thanked his family “for believing me when I said I wanted to make movies when I was 3 years old.”
Three decades later and 11 days shy of his 32nd birthday, Chazelle’s victory makes him the youngest person ever to receive the HFPA’s award in the category, and the first person under the age of 40 to win since American Beauty‘s Sam Mendes nabbed the honor in 2000 at the age of 34.
Chazelle took the Golden Globe over stiff competition from Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins, Manchester by the Sea‘s Kenneth Lonergan, Nocturnal Animals‘ Tom Ford, and Hacksaw Ridge helmer Mel Gibson, who previously won for directing the 1995 drama Braveheart.
Since 2007, every Golden Globe Best Director honoree has gone on to either win or receive a nomination in the Academy’s corresponding category, with Ben Affleck, whom the HFPA decorated for directing 2012’s Argo, being the decade’s sole exception.