The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, with the musical La La Land raking in a whopping 14 nods, including a double nomination for Ardmore's Benj Pasek in the best original song category.
It's no surprise: La La Land has been an awards-season favorite since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the romantic ode to Los Angeles took home seven Golden Globes at last month's awards.
What is surprising is how many Philadelphians worked behind the scenes on the movie, about an aspiring actress and a struggling jazz musician who fall in love.
Friends' Central grad Pasek took home the Golden Globe for best original song for penning the lyrics to "City of Stars," along with composer Justin Hurwitz and writing partner Justin Paul. "We never thought we'd be a part of an original movie musical," Pasek said on stage in Los Angeles while accepting the Golden Globe. "This is for musical theater nerds everywhere."
Pasek got two nominations: One for "City of Stars," and the other for "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)."
It's a good year for Pasek. He also has a well-reviewed show on Broadway, Dear Evan Hansen, based on a troubled kid he knew of in high school. Toby Zinman called the show "heartrending and gorgeous."
But that's not all. Producer Marc Platt is a 1979 University of Pennsylvania alum. He'll get to take the stage when/if La La Land wins best picture.
"So far, so good," Legend said.
Stiklorius attended Friends' Central, where she played basketball.
Legend said there was a connection between La La Land and his team's work on Underground. "We want to entertain, we want to inspire, we want to enlighten, highlight interesting subjects that may have been overlooked," he said at the biannual gathering of television critics in Los Angeles, "and tell the stories of diverse storytellers and diverse groups of people in ways that spark conversation, make our country and our world and our art more interesting."
With so many local connections, can we expect Philly Land next? Please?
See whether these Philly guys take home the gold at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 26 on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel is set to host.