She made the right impression, now everybody knows her name.
Emma Stone has won her first Academy Award for leading the cast of Damien Chazelle’s modern musical La La Land, emerging victorious after a contentious Oscar race that saw her squaring off against awards mainstay Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), French screen legend Isabelle Huppert (Elle), previous winner Natalie Portman (Jackie), and first-time nominee Ruth Negga (Loving).
“To the women in this category, Natalie, Isabelle, Meryl, Ruth: You are all so extraordinary,” Stone began while accepting the award Sunday night at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. “I look up to you and I admire you more than I can put into words. It has been the greatest honor to stand alongside you – that is the greatest honor of all.”
The star continued to thank her family and colleagues, including director Damian Chazelle for the “opportunity to be a part of a project that was so special and once in a lifetime.” Of course, she also made sure to thank her costar, Ryan Gosling: “Thank you for making me laugh and for always raising the bar and for being the greatest partner on this crazy adventure.”
Lastly, she thanked her friends, promising, “I’m going to hug the hell out of you when the feeling reenters my body.”
“I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do and this guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey and I’m so grateful for that,” she concluded. “Thank you so much.”
Early on in the festival circuit, Stone was widely seen as the frontrunner in the uncharacteristically crowded best actress race. As the precursor trail intensified, so did the size of Stone’s awards haul: The 28-year-old earned major accolades at the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the BAFTA Awards — a trifecta that has gone to each of the last three best actress Oscar winners.
Stone was first nominated for an Academy Award in 2015, earning a nod for her work in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman, which won Best Picture that same year. Stone has now appeared in three Best Picture contenders: La La Land, Birdman, and The Help.
La La Land, about an aspiring actress who falls for a struggling jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) amid the cutthroat entertainment scene of Los Angeles, scored a record-tying 14 Oscar nods in January, joining the ranks of Titanic and All About Eve as the most-recognized productions in Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences history.
“The idea of this really modern story of two struggling artists and dreamers became something really exciting very quickly,” Stone has said of making the film. “Living in a musical world where when you’re filled with joy you can spin down the street or burst into song, I loved that.”