La La Land’s Damien Chazelle has become the youngest winner of the Best Director prize in the history of the Academy Awards.
Aged 32, he beats a record held for more than 85 years by Norman Taurog, who won in 1931 for his movie Skippy. Since then few have come close, though Sam Mendes was 34 when he won for American Beauty in 1999.
Chazelle triumphed over Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By The Sea, Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge and Denis Villeneuve for Arrival.
The win comes despite a backlash against La La Land, which led the pack before the awards ceremony with an historic 14 nods, sharing a record with Titanic and All About Eve.
The musical comedy-drama film was written and directed by Chazelle, and stars Best Actor nominee Ryan Gosling and Best Actress nominee Emma Stone.
The young director’s mantelpiece will already be groaning under the weight of trophies: La La Land has already scooped seven Golden Globes and five BAFTAs – as well as hundreds of other industry accolades.
The 89th Academy Awards took place at a star-studded Hollywood ceremony on Sunday night, with Jimmy Kimmel serving as host for the first time in his career.