From now until February 26th, I will be taking to be taking a brief look at the nominees for The 89th Annual Academy Awards, one film at a time in several categories.
Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Director | Best Actor – Ryan Gosling | Best Actress – Emma Stone | Best Original Screenplay | Best Cinematography | Best Film Editing | Best Costume Design | Best Original Score | Best Sound Mixing | Best Sound Editing | Best Original Song – “City of Stars” | Best Original Song – “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” | Best Production Design
Damian Chezalle’s sweet confection is currently turning the film community on its head – 14 nominations!. It’s been a long time since a big ‘ol confectionery musical that wasn’t based on a stage hit worked its way out of a Hollywood hell-bent on bombing the universe and, for what it is, La La Land isn’t bad.
You can’t help but fall in love with it. There’s Ryan Gosling as a musician who sees jazz as a metaphor for life, and bubbly Emma Stone (who is positioned to win Best Actress) as a struggling actress who falls in love with him. Their bond is based on matters of the heart but they are divided by the dreams that threaten to pull them apart. It’s a relationship I was interested in. They have good chemistry together and I found myself wrapped up in their sweet love story.
I’ll admit I didn’t think much of the music when I saw the film. I have the soundtrack in my car (courtesy of the studio) and while I initially commented that the songs were instantly leaving my brain, I have found myself over the past few days singing and whistling Gosling’s signature piece “City of Stars.” That’s what a good musical does, it sticks the songs in your brain in an infectious way and forces you to carry them with you through the rest of the day.
I get the reasons that folks are swooning over this picture. A big Hollywood musical is long overdue. BUT! While others are swooning, this Alabama boy stands back and looks at La La Land in mere admiration. I like this film a good deal, but greatness? I don’t know. I suspect that its love letter to the sunny L.A. locals may have more to do with its fourteen Oscar nominations then anything really going on in the film. It’s a good film no doubt, but I saw a swirly, feathery little diversion, a break from the heavier nominees dominating the proceedings at this year’s awards.