×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘La La Land’s’ ‘City of Stars’ Lyricist Gives Shout Out to Arts in Public Schools at Oscars

City of Stars” from “La La Land” shined bright at the 89th Academy Awards, winning the statuette for best original song.

Justin Paul, one of the song’s lyricists, made a point to shout out public schools in the acceptance speech. “I was educated in public schools where arts and culture were valued and recognized and resourced,” he said. “And I’m so grateful to all my teachers who taught so much and gave so much to us.”

In any other year, his remarks might not be seen as a political statement. However, his comment comes at a time when Betsy DeVos, the recently confirmed secretary of education under the Trump administration, has taken heat from teachers’ unions and some charter school advocates.

City of Stars” fought off competition both from within — in the form of “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” — and from the outside — with “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from “Trolls” also up for the prize.

“City of Stars,” which was composed by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics from Pasek and Justin Paul, is sung twice throughout the film. Ryan Gosling’s character Sebastian first belts it out solo on a dusk-lit pier, where it comes across as a more lonely ballad. It’s performed as a duet on the second refrain, with Gosling and Emma Stone signaling their love through the “rat-tat-tat” on their hearts.

La La Land’s” music was also nominated for best original score, one of the movie’s record-equaling 14 nominations.

All of the best original song nominees were performed, with “La La Land” star John Legend taking over the live-performance duties for the song from Stone and Gosling. The other performers were Sting for “The Empty Chair,” Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho for “How Far I’ll Go,” and Justin Timberlake for “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • So Long, My Son directed by

    Wang Xiaoshuai's 'So Long, My Son' Earns Six APSA Nominations

    Chinese drama, “So Long, My Son,” was nominated in six categories for this year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The unprecedented haul makes it a clear favorite. The Wang Xiaoshuai-directed drama about separation, secrets, a lifetime of regret, and the consequences of China’s one child policy, had its premiere in February at the Berlin festival. There [...]

  • Alan Rickman

    Film News Roundup: 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary Set for Release

    In today’s film news roundup, rescue drama “Not Without Hope” is back in development, a “Galaxy Quest” documentary is set for release, “The Two Popes” wins another award, and Ella Joyce gets cast. PROJECT REVIVED U.K.-based financing-production outfit Goldfinch has bought feature film rights to Nick Schuyler’s “Not Without Hope” and signed “The Fog” director [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content