Emma Stone's road to the 2017 Oscars

From "Superbad" to "La La Land."

February 26, 2017, 9:44 AM

— -- As the front-runner to take home the best actress Oscar for her performance in "La La Land," it's easy to forget how far Emma Stone has come in such a short amount of time.

The 28-year-old actress was in her late teens when she made her first splash on the big screen in the 2008 comedy "Superbad," opposite Michael Cera and Jonah Hill as the approachable, yet beautiful, Jules. Before this runaway hit, Stone had been part of a short-lived series "Drive" that focused on an illegal cross-country road race.

But after her turn in "Superbad," she continued to perfect her comedic chops in hits like "The House Bunny" and "Zombieland" alongside other Oscar nominees like Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Murray and Abigail Breslin.

Then in 2010, she starred in "Easy A," followed by "Crazy, Stupid, Love," her first movie opposite Ryan Gosling.

In 2011, Gosling was already "singing" Stone's praises, telling MTV News, "There's no one like her. As soon as she signed on for this movie, I knew it was going to be good."

Little did anyone know that six years later the duo would be at it again, this time both grabbing Oscar nods for "La La Land."

But before that could happen, Stone would co-star with another Oscar nominee -- and fellow 2017 front-runner -- Viola Davis in "The Help," Stone's first foray into the world of drama.

"Everyone wants to talk about the race issues, feminism and the themes the movie touches on. But even more than that, it’s the story of three women who come together in an unlikely way to create positive change," Stone told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.

But the evolving actress wasn't content with just comedy and drama, and tried her hand over the next few years at action flicks, working with her then-boyfriend Andrew Garfield in two "Amazing Spider-Man" films.

Around the same time, she nabbed her first Oscar nod in 2014 for "Birdman," playing the lonely daughter of an aging actor (Michael Keaton). Her big breakout scene in that film was a monologue to her father. It's a scene she told Deadline she had to do about 25 times before getting it right.

"For the first time, as the words are coming out of her mouth, Sally’s connecting to what she’s actually saying. So that’s similar to that monologue. It’s this thing that I’ve always wanted to say to you and I’m only now realizing what the repercussions of these words leaving my mouth will be. I guess that’s where it draws parallels for me," she added to Deadline.

That year, the award went to Patricia Arquette from "Boyhood," a film that took more than a decade to complete.

In "La La Land," which took director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz years to convince a major studio to produce, Stone gets to show off her singing and dancing abilities, the same skills she had flashed on Broadway years prior performing in "Cabaret."

"It was really cool and interesting to be a part of, and equally scary—because if the tone wasn’t cohesive from the smaller scenes into these big cinemascope musical numbers, I didn’t know how it would turn out," she told Time magazine last year.

Well, it turned out to be a big success, one that has grossed more than $339 million globally, and landing the film with 14 Oscar nominations -- including Stone's. The world will see how that turns out tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET when ABC airs the Oscars hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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