Ryan Gosling at the Palm Spring International Film Festival awards gala on Monday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Ryan Gosling says Debbie Reynolds was a major inspiration for the La La Land cast.
The 36-year-old actor paid tribute to the late actress Monday at the 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala, where La La Land was honored with the Vanguard Award.
"I wish I could have said this in person, but I'd like to thank Debbie Reynolds for her wonderful career of work," Gosling said while accepting the award with La La Land director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz.
"She was an inspiration to us every day," he added. "We watched Singin' in the Rain every day for inspiration. A truly unparalleled talent, so thank you to her for all that inspiration."
Reynolds played Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (1952) and was also known for Bundle of Joy, How the West Was Won and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She died at age 84 on Dec. 28, one day after her daughter, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, died at age 60.
"Receiving all of your prayers and kind words over the past week has given me strength during a time I thought strength could not exist," Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, said Monday on Instagram. "There are no words to express how much I will miss my Abadaba and my one and only Momby."
La La Land, which opened in theaters in December, follows the romance between a jazz pianist (Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). The film features nods to several Hollywood musicals, including Singin' in the Rain.
"There's something about some of my favorite musicals that they put me in a sort of heightened state where I feel like I'm floating out of the theater rather than walking out," Chazelle told The Hollywood Reporter in November. "I want to capture a little bit of that feeling, but at the same time now have it be a purely escapist movie."