Justin Hurwitz is nominated for three Oscars for his work as the composer on the critically acclaimed film "La La Land." But how well do you know Hurwitz outside of his Academy Award contention? AXS has compiled five things that you likely didn't know about one of Hollywood's most talked-about composers so that you can understand more about him before film's biggest night.
1) He was bandmates - and roommates - with "La La Land" director Damien Chazelle
Hurwitz is well known as a frequent collaborator of "La La Land" director Damien Chazelle. But what you don't know is that their relationship goes much farther back than work. A WhereToWatch interview revealed that Hurwitz and Chazelle first met playing in the same band while both were in college at Harvard. They hit it off so well that they later became roommates. Now they're both nominated for Oscars. Doesn't that sound like a great song, or maybe even a sitcom?
2) He once wrote for "The Simpsons"
Hurwitz's Hollywood career has involved more than just making music. Six years ago he wrote one episode for FOX's long-running animated comedy "The Simpsons." The episode was the Season 23 premiere "The Falcon and the D'ohman" and featured Kiefer Sutherland ("24") as Wayne, a security guard working at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant who becomes the latest ill-fated friend of Homer Simpson. You can watch a clip from the hilarious episode here and the full episode is available for purchase on YouTube.
3) He went to the same high school as Oprah Winfrey
Hurwitz graduated from Wisconsin's Nicolet High School in Glendale, a suburb of Milwaukee. Other musicians who have attended include Howie Epstein from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Grammy Award-winning jazz artist Brian Lynch, and five-time Grammy nominee Tierney Sutton. Among the other famous alumni of Nicolet High are talk show host and business magnate Oprah Winfrey, although unlike Hurwitz she only attended the school briefly and didn't graduate.
4) He got paid to write about fantasy football
"The Simpsons" wasn't the only TV show that Hurwitz was involved with. He also was responsible for seven episodes of the FX comedy "The League" between 2011 and 2015. The show details the exploits of a group of friends who are all in the same fantasy football league. Hurwitz joined the show in Season 3 and stayed with it through its fifth and final season, getting to write stories like asking Green Bay Packers player Randall Cobb for relationship advice. He'd probably be a great fit for an Oscar nominee fantasy football league.
5) His favorite song from "La La Land" is the one he didn't plan
Hurwitz told Variety that "Audition (The Fools Who Dream") is his favorite song from "La La Land." It's also become one of the movie's most critically acclaimed, including an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. That makes it all the more remarkable that it was his most spontaneous. Hurwitz explained to Variety that while the other songs from the film involved a lot of discussion beforehand, "Audition" was simply him composing at the piano. No wonder why it resonated with him and has resonated with music fans nationwide. But will it similarly affect the Academy Awards voters?
The 89th Academy Awards will take place Feb. 26 from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Jimmy Kimmel hosts and the awards will be broadcast nationally on ABC.