The 89th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, are airing live from Los Angeles on ABC

By Joey Nolfi and Alexia Fernandez
Updated February 28, 2017 09:22 AM
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Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

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).

Leonardo DiCaprio presented the award to the actress.

Stone breathlessly thanked her peers, saying, “You were all so extraordinary and I look up to you and I admire you.”

She also graciously thanked her three-time leading man, Ryan Gosling, who was also nominated for Best Actor for La La Land.

“Thank you for making me laugh,” Stone said to Gosling. “For always making me laugh and for being my crazy partner in this crazy adventure.”

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“I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do,” Stone concluded as she gestured toward the award. “And this guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey and I’m so grateful for that. So thank you so much.”

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Backstage after she accepted her award, Stone told reporters in the press room she planned to celebrate her victory by calling her mother and added, “I’m going to out with a bunch of my friends and dance and drink champagne.”

Early on the festival circuit, Stone was widely seen as the front-runner 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 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 (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.”

The 89th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, are airing live from Los Angeles on ABC.

  • With reporting by GABRIELLE OLYA