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Will Westport Native Win An Oscar 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. — It's anyone guess who will win when the Oscar envelope is opened Sunday, Feb. 26, but "La La Land" certainly has the edge -- and the buzz.

And Westport has a stake in the game with Staples High grad Justin Paul up for two awards for his songs in the award-winning film.

"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.

Other songs nominated in the category include"Can't Stop The Feeling" from the movie "Trolls," with music and lyrics 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, 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 ABC on Sunday with Jimmy Kimmel as host.

Click here for the complete list of Oscar nominations.

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