Best Picture Nominees — La La Land
Nine films are vying for the title of Best Picture in 2016. In the run up to the Oscars I'm taking a look at all the contenders. We have just one film left, a beautiful musical that is not only my favorite but The Favorite on Sunday night.
La La Land
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, and J.K. Simmons
Director: Damien Chazelle
Total Nominations: 14
Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Actress (Stone), Best Actor (Gosling), Best Director (Chazelle), Best Original Screenplay (Chazelle), Best Original Score, Best Original Song (2), Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Costume and Makeup, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing
About: Hollywood has a long history of musicals that have dominated the awards, but it's been a while since that was the case. "La La Land" is set in contemporary Los Angeles, but in a lot of ways it's a movie out of time. It feels quite retro in both its tone and storytelling. Chazelle, who is a talented young filmmaker nominated as both a writer and director, has talked openly of his old Hollywood influences in telling this story. And in Stone and Gosling, he appears to have found the perfect muses to make this beautiful musical really hum. This film has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, and I think it will win a bunch of them. It's the most nominated film of the year, and it's been a frequent winner throughout awards season. The film has a whole host of technical awards, but it's hard to say what it will win. I think it will take home both music awards. Gosling was great in this film, but he is in a tough battle in the Best Actor race and it's far from a lock. Stone has a much better chance. She's been the favorite for a while, and I think she'll come out on top Sunday. Chazelle is nominated in two categories, and I think he's likely to win the Best Director race, while the screenplay award goes to one of the other filmmakers. Finally, I would expect "La La Land" to win the editing award as, in the past, it's frequently gone to the winner of Best Picture. And I expect "La La Land," the front-runner, to get that big prize, too. This is a great film, and the most joyous film of 2016 in a lot of ways. I think it will be the big winner Sunday night, potentially winning a half dozen or more awards.
Rating: PG-13 for some language.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.
Where to See It: "La La Land" is now playing in theaters nationwide.