LOS ANGELES - Emma Stone sang and danced her way to a best-actress Oscar for "La La Land," elevating the once struggling actress with roots in community theatre to the heights of Hollywood.
Stone's victory on Sunday night was the sixth Oscar earned by the musical set against a Los Angeles backdrop. It had a leading 14 nominations.
She portrayed an aspiring actress forced to endure the indignities of failed auditions and working in a studio cafe before getting a nudge from a struggling jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling.
Stone experienced similar things in her own career that began in her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. She dropped out of high school and gave her parents a PowerPoint presentation to convince them to let her move to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
Once there, she endured starts and stops before breaking through in 2010 with the teen comedy "Easy A."
"I realize a moment like this is a huge confluence of luck and opportunity," Stone told the audience.
It is the 28-year-old actress' first Oscar. She was nominated in the supporting category three years ago for "Birdman."
"I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do," Stone said. "This guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey."
Stone found herself coming back onstage moments later when Warren Beatty announced "La La Land" won best picture. Except it was a mistake that lasted for about 2 1/2 minutes until "Moonlight" was announced as the real winner.
"Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time?" Stone marveled backstage. "I was still on such a buzzy train backstage that I was on another planet already. It's an incredible outcome, but a very strange happening for Oscar history."
Stone said she was holding her winning envelope backstage when the best picture flub occurred.
But she didn't mind that her movie lost out on the night's biggest prize.
"I (expletive) love 'Moonlight,"' she said.