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Westport Native Nominated For 2 Oscars For 'La La Land'

Composer Justin Paul grew up in Westport and is a Staples High graduate.
Composer Justin Paul grew up in Westport and is a Staples High graduate. Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. — Staples High grad Justin Paul who grew up in Westport grabbed two Oscar nominations Tuesday for his songs in the film "La La Land."

"La La Land" received 14 nominations, tying the record. Paul received nominations for Best Song from the film for "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" and "City of Stars." Paul and Benj Pasek wrote the lyrics for both songs. Justin Hurwitz wrote the music for both songs.

They face some stiff competition from the other songs nominated in the category: "Can't Stop The Feeling" from the movie "Trolls," with music and lyrics by Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan; "The Empty Chair" from the movie "Jim: The James Foley Story," with music and lyrics by J. Ralph and Sting; and "How Far I'll Go" from the movie "Moana," with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, of "Hamilton" fame.

Paul and his team won "Best Original Song" for "La La Land" at The Golden Globes earlier this month.

Paul, a 2003 graduate of Staples High, was born in Missouri but raised in Connecticut, according to Wikipedia. Aside from his time at Staples, he attended Music Theatre of Connecticut School of Performing Arts before heading off to the University of Michigan where he got a BFA in Musical Theatre.

He is also composed the musical "James and the Giant Peach" with Pasek, along other accolades, and most recently, has created and written the score for the Broadway show "Dear Evan Hansen."

Oscar voters showered the neo-musical “La La Land” with 14 nominations on Tuesday, a tie with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the most in Academy Award history.

The other nominations for "La La Land" are lead actor, Ryan Gosling; lead actress, Emma Stone; director, Damien Chazelle; music (original score), Justin Hurwitz; Cinematography, Linus Sandgren; Costume design, Mary Zophres; Film editing, Tom Cross;  Best picture, Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt; Production Design, David Wasco; Set Decoration, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco; Sound editing, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan; Sound mixing, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow and Original screenplay: Written by Damien Chazelle.

The Oscars will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 26, by ABC. Jimmy Kimmel will host this year's presentation.

Click here for the complete list of Oscar nominations.

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