The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival continued its star-studded festival by feting La La Land’s Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone with the Outstanding Performers Award presented by Belvedere last night. The Arlington Theatre was teeming with hundreds of fans and Gosling and Stone graciously stopped for autographs and photos.
The evening began with a hundred-year-old organ playing the score to La La Land, creating a magical aura all around. SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling proceeded to lead the two-hour conversation with interspersed clips of their respective careers. From discussing their very first audition together for Crazy, Stupid, Love, to collaborating with director Damien Chazelle in their third film together, La La Land, Gosling and Stone charmed the audience with their chemistry and wit all evening.
Stone chuckled about their nicknames for one another, “Emsies” and “Rysies,” while Gosling talked about his admiration for Gene Kelly. “Gene Kelly could sing and dance and kick your ass. The balance is a beautiful thing and I wanted that.” Gosling continued, “An American in Paris and Singing in the Rain are my favorite. Musicals are a wonderful medium. There are no rules and you can express a character’s emotions through song and dance.”
Stone on the other hand, mentioned she stopped doing musicals when she was young because she didn’t believe she could sing. “Ryan and I begged for rehearsal time and were so grateful we had three months with Damien and Mandy Moore. They were cheering us on from the very beginning.”
The evening concluded with the Chazelle presenting the duo with the Outstanding Performers Award, which then led to them sword fighting with their prestigious new adornments, bringing the audience to their feet.