Oscars 2017: 'La La Land' 's Damien Chazelle Wins Best Director

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

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Damien Chazelle has danced his way into the record books.

At the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday night, the La La Land director took home the trophy for Best Director, making him the youngest filmmaker ever to win the award.

Chazelle first thanked his fellow nominees, Mel Gibson, Barry Jenkins, Denis Villeneuve and Kenneth Lonergan “for what incredible filmmakers you are and for inspiring me with your work every day.”

“I want to thank the people who helped me make this movie, my crew, my team, everyone at Lionsgate for taking a chance on it. Ryan and Emma for bringing it to life, John [Legend] for acting alongside them, and now doing me very proud on this stage,” he added.

He also thanked his friend and composer Justin Hurwitz, whom he said he had known “since we were both 17 or 18, I think,” saying, “Justin, thank you for riding with me on this and carrying this dream and never giving up.”

He went on to thank his parents and wife Olivia, saying, “This was a movie about love and I was lucky enough to fall in love while making it, and it means the world to me that you’re here sharing this with me. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Having just turned 32 last month, Chazelle — who also recently became the youngest Golden Globes Best Director winner — broke the record previously held by 1931 recipient Norman Taurog, who was 32 years and 260 days old when he won for directing Skippy.

Sunday night’s victory comes after a meteoric rise for the wunderkind filmmaker. Chazelle burst on the scene in 2014 with the riveting Whiplash, which scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture nods. His musical follow-up La La Land, starring Oscar nominees Emma Stone (who won/lost) and Ryan Gosling (who won/lost), engrossed audiences and critics alike, swept the Golden Globes, and earned a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations. Chazelle also scored the prized DGA Award, which often serves as a predictor of Oscar victory.

Chazelle faced stiff competition to win the Best Director Oscar, beating out Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge, Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea and Denis Villeneuve for Arrival.

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“What’s so great about a musical is — when it works — the genre has the potential for emotion that’s unmatched by any other,” Chazelle said in November. “But when it doesn’t, there is nothing as embarrassing.”

Nothing embarrassing about an Oscar.

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

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