2016 #16 – La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)

“People love what other people are passionate about.” – Emma Stone as Mia Dolan in La La Land.

La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
Written By: Damien Chazelle
Running Time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
Genre(s): Music, Musical, Drama, Romance

Are there two actors in Hollywood with more chemistry than Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? Maybe a bit hyperbolic, but the point remains that the two are able to elevate each other in ways that are just magical to watch unfold on screen.

It’s almost hard to believe that La La Land almost starred Miles Teller and Emma Watson. Can you imagine? I sure can’t.

The film tells the story of aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Stone) and jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder (Gosling) as they aspire to make their dreams come true all while dealing with the love they have for one another.

It’s really easy to see Damien Chazelle’s love of cinema when watching La La Land. Some may call it mimicry, but I loved watching it all unfold. This movie, to put it simply, is visually breathtaking at times. Not to mention that all of the songs are of high caliber, each standing on their own, which is important for a musical. “City of Stars” has a lot of buzz right now, but “Audition” is the song that grabbed my heart, and I’m pretty sure it is a career-best moment for Emma Stone as well.

If there was one small nit-picket I’d point out, it’s that it almost felt as though the movie left its musical-tone behind around halfway through. At some points when watching the film it felt more like a drama than a musical.

Ultimately though, La La Land is a powerful portrayal of love, dreams and the positives and negatives that can happen when the two collide. It’s a really phenomenal film. 4.5/5.

2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
2. La La Land

Hell or High Water
Sing Street

Best Director
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
2. Damien Chazelle – La La Land

David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Jon Favreau – The Jungle Book
John Carney – Sing Street

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Denzel Washington – Fences
2. Joel Edgerton – Loving
3. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
4. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
5. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Emma Stone – La La Land
2. Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris
3. Rebecca Hall – Christine
4. Ruth Negga – Loving
5. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ashton Sanders – Moonlight
André Holland – Moonlight
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
5. Trevante Rhodes – Moonlight

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Janelle Monaé – Hidden Figures
3. Lucy Boynton – Sing Street
4. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
5. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay
1. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
2. Sing Street – Simon Carmody, John Carney
3. La La Land – Damien Chazelle
4. Hello, My Name Is Doris – Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Fences – August Wilson
3. Loving – Jeff Nichols
4. Hidden Figures – Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
5. The Jungle Book – Justin Marks

Best Film Ensemble
1. Moonlight – Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
3. Fences – Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney
4. Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monaé, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge
5. Sing Street – Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Don Wycherley, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny

Best Original Score
1. La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
3. Loving – David Wingo
4. The Jungle Book – John Debney
5. Hell or High Water – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Best Original Song
1. La La Land – “Audition” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It” by Gary Clark
3. La La Land – “City of Stars” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
4. Sing Street – “To Find You” by Gary Clark
5. La La Land – “Another Day of Sun” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Best Production Design
1. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
2. La La Land – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock
4. Hidden Figures – Missy Parker, Wynn Thomas
5. Sing Street – Tamara Conboy, Alan MacDonald

Best Cinematography
1. La La Land – Linus Sandgren
2. Moonlight – James Laxton
3. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Deadpool – Bill Corso
2. Sing Street – Barbara Conway, Sandra Kelly

Best Costume Design
1. Sing Street – Tiziana Corvisieri
2. La La Land – Mary Zophres
3. Hidden Figures – Renée Ehrlich Kalfus
4. Captain Fantastic – Courtney Hoffman
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Colleen Atwood

Best Film Editing
1. La La Land – Tom Cross
2. Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
3. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
4. The Jungle Book – Mark Livolsi
5. Sing Street – Andrew Marcus, Julian Ulrichs

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book – Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Adam Valdez
Passengers – Pete Dionne, Sebastien Gourdal, Erik Nordby
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
4. Deadpool – Alex Burdett, Jonathan Rothbart, Ryan Tudhope, Alex Wang
5. Hell or High Water – Jeremy Cox, Scott Hastings, Daniel Holt, Michael Prawitz

2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
2. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)
Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
Sing Street (dir. John Carney)
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
6. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
7. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington)
8. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)
9. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
10. Hello, My Name Is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter)
11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)
12. Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)
13. Captain Fantastic (dir. Matt Ross)
14. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)
15. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon)
16. The Girl on the Train (dir. Tate Taylor)


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