He dedicated his award to Eva Mendes‘ older brother, Juan Carlos Mendes, saying “Sweetheart, thank you.”
Mendes’ brother died in April, after a battle with cancer. Mendes did not attend the show with Gosling, instead staying at home with the couples two children, daughters Esmeralda Amada, 2, and Amada Lee, 8 months.
“She’s at home with our girls,” he told ET’s Nancy O’Dell.
“All the clichés are true,” he said of fatherhood. “It’s a dream. They’re angels, and they have heaven eyes.”
Gosling stars in Damien Chazelle’s sweeping musical as Sebastian, an idealistic jazz pianist who falls head over heels for an actress named Mia (played by Emma Stone). Although Gosling had some musical experience — remember his Mickey Mouse Club days? — he had to take extensive dance and piano lessons to play the dreamy musician, and last year, he told EW that starring in a musical presented a whole new set of challenges as an actor.
“I think what worried me the most was just losing track of the characters when the musical numbers came in,” Gosling told EW. “[The key was] bridging that gap and making sure that the people singing those songs were the same people in the scenes that you saw beforehand and that you didn’t lose track of them.”
La La Land led this year’s Golden Globes nominations with a total of seven, including best musical or comedy, best director for Chazelle, and best actress in a musical or comedy for Stone. Gosling beat out Colin Farrell in The Lobster, Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins, Jonah Hill in War Dogs, and Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com