“And the Oscar Goes to…”
With the Academy Awards coming up in less than two weeks, I have really been analyzing which movie should win best picture. With nine films nominated, and every entry bringing something amazing to the table, it seems that it would be tough to choose one that really stands out. However, I have chosen the movie that I believe will win: La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle. Focusing on the lives of a struggling actress (Emma Stone) and out-of-work jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling), La La Land displays the idea that we all have dreams, but may need to sacrifice in order to achieve them. Not only is the plot so good that it entertained me for two hours, but the entire movie is so confident in what it is doing that it works. Every aspect of La La Land adds on to the others and makes it an amazing cinematic masterpiece.
Going in, I had no preconceptions. I had seen the trailer a few times in front of other movies, but had no real idea as to what it was about. I was immediately drawn in by the opening scene: a musical number on a Los Angeles highway. Throughout the entire elaborately choreographed four-minute number, there are about three cuts, and it is just the first example of the amazing cinematography displayed throughout the film. Whenever the characters are happy, or experiencing something good, the camerawork is smooth. Long shots dominate a majority of the movie, and it almost seems like a live musical in some places. However, whenever there is a conflict, the sharp, quick cuts of the camera really add to the drama and the use of camerawork as an emotional device is genius.
La La Land is a musical that emulates the style of old Hollywood. I personally do not like musicals, so you might be wondering why I love this movie so much. My only answer is that it just felt natural. While a lot of the songs had no words, any that did fit the plot just perfectly. None of them felt shoehorned in, and that, to me, is the biggest turn-off of musicals. Wonderfully composed by Justin Hurwitz, the songs will get stuck in your head, but I know that at least in my case, I didn’t mind. The songs in particular weren’t annoying, but were something I wanted in my head. They just had a very uplifting, yet meaningful tone.
So why does this movie rise above the others? Because everything was there. The movie had a good premise, mixed with two star actors, adding in beautiful cinematography, production design and tone. Wrap that up with upbeat, catchy songs, and it’s just an all-around wonder. Movies like this deserve best picture. Not only do they shine in just one category with a good actor or great makeup, but they shine in every single aspect of the film. I strongly encourage you to go and watch this amazing movie that has become an instant favorite of mine, and I will not be surprised when La La Land wins best picture because of the holistic approach that this movie brings to the table.