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10 Reasons Why “La La Land” Will Win Best Picture

24 January 2017 | Features, Other Lists | by Red Stewart

LaLaLand

Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was hotly anticipated long before it even came out. After all, the writer/director was riding off the back of his Oscar winning “Whiplash” and brought with him a slew of talented leads including Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Despite these high expectations, “La La Land” did not fail to live up to the hype. The movie was a hit, receiving critical acclaim from critics and audiences, with many praising it for its lavish production design and genuine passion. But “La La Land” was more than just another good musical from contemporary Hollywood; it was an inspiring work of art that deserves to win Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. Here are our 10 reasons why we believe that:

 

1. It Swept the Golden Globes

The Golden Globes have always been a good indicator for how the Academy will vote due to the close association it has with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Anyone who saw this year’s Golden Globes will know that “La La Land” won an astounding seven awards, including: Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, and Best Actor, Actress, and Motion Picture – Musical or comedy.

Rarely do films win every award they are nominated for, and “La La Land” just became a part of that exclusive group.

 

2. Damien Chazelle

Often times, award groups pick favorites that they give consecutive nominations to: actors like Jack Nicholson, actresses like Meryl Streep, directors like Steven Spielberg, and so forth. This is not limited to the Oscars, as seen with the Cannes Film Festival and Nicolas Winding Refn, but the Oscars have nonetheless acquired that reputation.

The fact is Damien Chazelle is very hot in terms of bankability. His previous film, “Whiplash,” was nominated for Best Picture, so his next project had already acquired a significant amount of hype prior to any production reveals. With it now having pleased critics, there is no denying that Chazelle has officially entered the realm of Hollywood royalty, and with it a greater chance at acquiring an award.

 

3. The Cast

Part of what made “La La Land” very enduring to audiences was the chemistry between its primary actors. This is the third collaboration between Gosling and Stone following 2011’s “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and 2013’s “Gangster Squad,” and their ability to bounce off one another has only grown more natural in the three years since.

Celebrity couples have always had great success during awards season, which such famous pairs as Tracey and Hepburn, Powell and Keeler, and DiCaprio and Winslet standing out in particular.

In addition to this, both Gosling and Stone are no strangers to nominations: both have been nominated for an Oscar and both have a combined total of six entries at the Golden Globes (not including the ones they just received for “La La Land”). This reputation will significantly help the film win out over the other nominees.

 

4. The Cinematography Evokes Woody Allen

Aside from “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan” is widely regarded as comedian and famed director/writer Woody Allen’s best film. Telling of a TV writer going through a midlife crisis as he falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend (played by Diane Keaton), “Manhattan” was notable for being shot in black-and-white film stock due to the fact that Allen wanted to bring out what he felt was the melodramatic skid row-esque feel of the city.

Combined with the talents of legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis, “Manhattan” not only gained fame for its gorgeous nighttime city shots, but also for a particular sequence wherein Allen’s and Keaton’s characters walk through a planetarium.

Watching “La La Land,” it is clear that both Chazelle and his own director of photography Linus Sandgren were fans of Allen, because the film evokes much of “Manhattan’s” look. From the famous evening dance, to the music number “City of Stars,” all the way to the silhouette waltz in the observatory. And considering how much critics love Woody Allen, Chazelle and Sandgren did not pick a bad role model for Oscar season.

 

5. It Balances Magical Realism with Reality

The term “La La Land” is more than just a catchy title for Chazelle’s flick; it refers to a nickname Los Angeles, and by extension Hollywood, acquired in the late 1970s-early 1980s, taking off from the slang term for someone in a dreamy mindset.

This state of consciousness was more than likely conceived as a reference to aspiring actors, filmmakers, and writers that moved to L.A. in an attempt to become successful. While “La La Land” had its fair share of fantasy elements as the two protagonists fell in love, it was not oblivious to the reality many actors in Hollywood face: disruptive auditions, money problems, waiting for callbacks, existential crises, heartbreak, anxiety over selling-out, and many more. Chazelle’s smart script kept both elements in mind.

 

 

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  • Mortimer

    Movie is excellent but not THAT good as everyone pretends to be. There are a few better films this year.

  • Nick Botton

    This movie is total garbage and the fact that it won so many awards/nominations just means the award shows have officially lost all credibility.

    • Jack action

      You are totally right!

      Hollywood is based on capitalism (Hollywood make you desire more and more movies to see and “consume “), is based on propaganda (anti socialism and ( more bad) super-moralism or great heroes) , is based on favoratism other people near to you , is based on cocaine , in work, in sex….

      FUCK HOLLYWOOD ‘S ÉLITE

    • Jamess

      Good thing your opinion is not fact, right?

      • Nick Botton

        Good thing that when discussing the merit of a piece of art, which is something that is entirely subjective, very few positions can be said to be grounded soundly on facts. On the other hand, one can make comparisons to edge nearer to objectivity, such as to say that “the music in La La Land is not as good as in Singin’ in the Rain or The Red Shoes” and “the acting is not as good as in other movies that have come out this year” and “Gosling’s singing is awful in comparison to literally anything else.” In conclusion, facts matter little with regards to art, but with a good frame of reference, the artistic merit of certain pieces can be assessed pretty well. Ergo, La La Land is total garbage.

    • Iván Solorio (SanS)

      to say it is total garbage it means that it lacks merit which isn’t true. The music is on point, the cinematography is lovely and the acting is entertaining. A total garbage movie is something I expect along the lines of an Adam Sandler movie circa-2000s to date. Not in a Damien Chazzelle film.

      So let’s not overreact that, yes, while La La Land is overrated to some extent. It isn’t a total garbage. It is a fairly entertaining-nostalgic musical.

      • Nick Botton

        None of the songs are memorable or especially well written, and crank up the cheese to the point of nausea at times (“HERE’S TO THE ONES… WHO DREEEAAAM”), and the acting is passable, though it really starts to fall flat at the halfway point. The cinematography is the one thing that the movie has going for it, I’ll give you that, but it does not keep the movie entertaining for an entire 2h. Anyone whose seen Singin’ in the Rain would be shocked at all the dimensions in which La La Land fails to live up to the classic musicals it is trying to emulate.

  • Indira Iman

    I have nothing against La La Land, while the truth is i tremendously enjoy La La Land more than for example, another Best Picture front-runner–Moonlight, it doesn’t break any ground for me. I’ve seen La La Land kind of films so many times before, and i have no doubt a few years from now some director will make another musical about the Hollywood dreams, love, etc. But i doubt i’ll see something as special as Moonlight ever again. How often do you find a film that talk about race, homosexuality, and black masculinity?

    Not trying to pit Moonlight against La La Land, but that’s my example of how there are movies that have more social and cultural relevancy than a Hollywood candy about white people’s problem. I’m all for Ryan Gosling dancing, singing his heart out and chasing his dreams, but some people don’t even have the privilege to dream and sing their hearts out.

    • Mortimer

      Neither La La Land nor Moonlight are the best movies of the year. They are very good though. Try to find Best Picture among non-nominated films, not among frontrunners.

      • Jamess

        Mortimer, I would love to know which movies you think should win. I’m so curious.

        • Mortimer

          Thanks for your curiosity Jamess.
          1. Jackie
          2. Sunset Song
          3. Silence
          4. Paterson
          5. Moonlight
          6. Toni Erdmann
          7. La La Land
          8. Manchester by the Sea
          9. Elle
          10.The Handmaiden

    • Iván Solorio (SanS)

      My pick would be Manchester by the Sea. While Moonlight has more to offer. Manchester by the Sea is so special because it deals with the great sadness of grief, guilt and depression in a realistic yet approachable way.

      • Mortimer

        As coming-of-age story Moonlight beats Boyhood on almost every level. I love the movie but still think it’s a little overrated. Better movie than La La Land also. I think Jackie was the best movie of 2016. Almost surreal masterpiece. And I didn’t expected to be my favorite film of the year at all.

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