WHY I DON’T WANT LA LA LAND TO WIN AT THE OSCARS | fivethreeninety

Before you hate me: I loved La La Land. I’ve seen it three times in cinemas so far, & have sobbed each time. I listen to the soundtrack ritually, have a poster in my room, & even cried when I met Damien Chazelle two weekends ago at the BAFTAs.

But I don’t want it to win all of the fourteen awards it’s nominated for at this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Here’s all the awards it’s nominated for:

Best Motion Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Original Screenplay

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Film Editing

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Song: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Song: “City of Stars”

Best Achievement in Production Design

While Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling were incredible, I don’t think they should be taking home that golden statuette for these performances. Both are incredibly talented actors but I think they are totally overwhelmingly overshadowed by performances by Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield, Casey Affleck, Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga & Isabelle Huppert respectively.

I would be happy for Damien Chazelle to win Best Director, though I would be ecstatic for Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve to get it instead because I think his work was incredible. Original Screenplay too is something I think La La Land will deservedly win. Cinematography should go to Arrival, or failing that, Lion (I just want Arrival to win something!!), but Film Editing should go to La La Land. Costume Design, I can’t decide who it should go to as all are fantastic, but I think it would be nice for it to go to Allied.

La La Land will sweep all the music awards I think, & if it does then I’d want Original Song to go to Audition (Fools Who Dream) over City of Stars because that song is powerful. If there were a choreography award it would have to go to La La Land for sure.

I mainly want to talk about the award for Best Picture though, so for reference, here’s every film nominated for that award:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Okay. Let’s do this.

As I wrote in my blog post discussing it, La La Land feels like a love letter to cinema. While that’s wonderful & brilliant I feel like like film has such a platform to really change things, & the Best Picture award can’t just go to films for being nice now. I’ve seen all but two of the nominees for this year (I have yet to find an opportunity to see Fences & Moonlight is not showing anywhere in my city till later on this week), so this is the most I’ve ever been prepared for the Oscars to date.

La La Land was wonderful & magical but it didn’t change my life. It didn’t touch me like Lion, or engage me like Hidden Figures, or astound me as much as Arrival. Less than two months after seeing it for the first time I’m just a little over indifferent to it – compared to the four & a half months since Arrival that’s still leaving me shook.

Films have this ability to seep into your life & change it, however drastically that may be. And in a time where the world seems to be falling apart in so many ways, now is the time that we desperately need powerful films. We need Hidden Figures to be telling the stories of people who previously have been swept under the rug; we need Hacksaw Ridge to be showing us someone full of heart on the frontlines of war doing good instead of killing; we need Lion inspiring hope & showcasing all it’s culture; we need Arrival demonstrating world peace & we need Moonlight to shove minorities in everybody’s faces until they shut up.

We are living in a world where black people are murdered by police officers; where gay people & trans people are bullied to suicide; where women are having their rights stripped from them; where religions are being denied entry to countries because of their beliefs; & where anyone who isn’t a straight white male is constantly told that they don’t belong. Films can transport you to another world, a world where they can either distract you from real life or validate the struggles of millions of people across the globe – which seems more important?

 
While it may seem like La La Land is undoubtably going to win Best Picture, lets not forget the Academy’s track history. There has been a past of giving the award to not quite the underdog, but the film that was perhaps a little overshadowed. For example; Shakespeare in Love winning over Saving Private Ryan in 1999, Birdman instead of a handful of other top bookie bets in 2015; & even last year everyone was sure the award would be going to The Revenant, only for it to go to Spotlight instead. So it may not be as sure as some people think.

La La Land is a fantastic film made by people who clearly love films, & although not to everyone’s taste, it is ultimately a feel good film – which is no less valid than a serious one. But a serious film might be what we need. If it does win Best Picture it will be well deserved. But wouldn’t it be incredible if Moonlight were to win?

What do you think? Should the Best Picture go to a nice, magical film over an important one that could change history?  Tweet me what you think.

I’ll be up watching the Oscars as they unfold tonight at a ridiculous hour for the UK, so I’ll be here all day.

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