After months of anticipation following its debut at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, Damien Chazelle‘s movie musical “La La Land” opened in theaters on December 9 to rapturous reviews, scoring 89 on MetaCritic and 95% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. So it appears to have lived up to its hype as the Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture.
“The world … needs ‘La La Land’ right now.” Starring Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as the jazz musician she falls in love with, the “primary colored,” “unapologetically romantic” film is the antidote to a brutal 2016, which has been rife with celebrity deaths and political upheaval. Critics say it’s “one of the loveliest things you will experience in a theater this year.”
Much of that credit is going to Chazelle for taking a “huge risk” and to the lead actors, who are “perfection.” This is the third time Stone and Gosling have co-starred together, following “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011) and “Gangster Squad” (2013), but this is their “finest screen collaboration.” So in addition to Best Picture, our Oscar experts are forecasting wins for Best Director (Chazelle) and Best Actress (Stone) as well as a nomination for Best Actor (Gosling).
What do you think? Check out some of the reviews below, and make sure you join the discussion in our forums.
Jessica Kiang (The Playlist): “The world — as well as cinema, history, art, nostalgia, sincerity, joy, music, love and creativity — needs Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ right now. 2016 needs ‘La La Land.’ A primary colored explosion of pure delight that revels in both the manufactured perfections of studio-era Hollywood musicals and in the imperfections and flubbed lines of real life … the film is a huge risk and an absolute triumph.”
Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “The result is, by any reasonable measure, one of the loveliest things you will experience in a theater this year. Much of this is because of the incandescent star wattage of Stone and Gosling, pulling off their third and finest screen collaboration after two Los Angeles-set romantic pairings — ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ and ‘Gangster Squad’ — that tried, in wildly different ways, to reanimate the spirit of classic Hollywood.”
Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “These two have been wonderful together before, in ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’ (2011) and ‘Gangster Squad’ (2013), but in ‘La La Land,’ as a duo they’re close to perfection. This movie is purely for them, and they revel in it. You can see it in the way they move and in their singing, too: Stone’s voice is clear and light, like a sliver of morning sun. Gosling’s is soft and dusky, like a moonbeam.”
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): “It’s an unapologetically romantic homage to classic movie musicals, splashing its poster-paint energy and dream-chasing optimism on the screen. With no little audacity, ‘La La Land’ seeks its own place somewhere on a continuum between ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and Woody Allen’s ‘Everyone Says I Love You,’ with a hint of Alan Parker’s ‘Fame’ for the opening sequence.”
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “La La Land” will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.