And misses the first campaign stop of the year.
Emma Stone has strep throat, and could not attend the Palm Springs International Film Festival to receive her Vanguard Award - which she shares with Ryan Gosling - last night. It's her first sick day of awards season, as she's attended nearly every pre-Oscar stop on the campaign trail, hitting up film festivals from Middleburg, Virginia to Denver… and back again. This time though, Ryan's covering for her, and so is her La La Land writer and director, Damien Chazelle.
Last month, Lainey wrote about how Ryan's seemingly able to "[get] out of everything" on the La La Land promo tour due, in part, to the Blade Runner 2049 production schedule. Not anymore. Palm Springs matters. It's the tastemaker schmoozefest with plenty of the Academy's more esteemed members and influential VIPs, and takes place two days before Golden Globe ballots are due or, more importantly, three weeks before the Oscar nominations.
Ryan was so game to play ball, in fact, that he made an appearance in the PSIFF Instastory talking about how if he could remake any film of his, it would be La La Land, and he also put his hair at risk, in a red carpet interview that needs to be seen to be believed.
Emma's been everywhere, but this was a big night to miss. Damien Chazelle had her back on-stage.
"Emma... wishes she could be here tonight, I wish she could be here tonight. She came down with a bad case of strep throat, so she probably would have made you all sick if she was here... but I did just want to say, on her behalf, or just about her, how lucky I was to have a performer like her as a director to bare her soul every day and to invest in a genre which I think is sometimes misperceived as light and sugar, to invest in that genre with real pathos, which is something she did every day."
You can watch his speech here at around the 02:43:13 mark.
He's not simply saying that Emma's sick and unable to work the room, he makes sure to add extra gravitas to her performance in La La Land, in case critics wanted to dismiss her performance as light or flimsy. Have you seen La La Land yet? The first twenty minutes is the typical musical we've come to know and love - light, frothy and candy-coated, but it takes a turn and shows what Emma and Ryan truly risk in order to achieve their Hollywood dreams. Damien wants you to notice how hard she worked, and how she nailed the part, because his words and praise could make up for her absence and leave a lasting impression on the room.
But the perceived Oscar frontrunner Emma will get another chance to make her mark on Sunday at the Globes, where she'll likely win the Best Actress Musical/Comedy statue. There's still plenty of time for her to work her hustle, but will news of her illness be as memorable as Ryan's on-stage tribute to Debbie Reynolds? Will any good La La Land press translate into good press for Emma? It does not look like she's losing ground yet, but there are certainly less fresh red carpet photos of her. Meanwhile, her biggest Oscar rival Natalie Portman is hustling hard too, walking the press line with her husband, greeting fellow honouree Ruth Negga, and being introduced by none other than Tom Hanks... the most popular guy in the room. Now that's good press.
Speaking of good press, I swear I saw a tweet last night that said honouree Andrew Garfield and Ryan Gosling were seated at the same table. This fan account references that:
So, in theory, had Emma been feeling well enough to attend, there would have (possibly) been new photos of her and her ex, Andrew, together. Fans and gossips have been waiting for new awards season photos of them in the same room. They both attended the Critics' Choice back in December, but kept their distance. Could last night have been the night? Will they "bump" into each other at the Globes? Or will it be the SAGs? What would the possibility of that photo do for her (and his) momentum?