Mandy Moore is a name that kept coming up during the fall awards season, and I don’t mean the actress from “This Is Us” (though she should also get an Emmy nomination). I’m talking about the choreographer for “La La Land.” As touching as it was for Moore to be repeatedly thanked for the dance moves that helped the film go on an amazing awards run that ended in six Oscars, it’s time for her to get some hardware of her own. That gives the Emmys the perfect opportunity to one-up the Oscars since the television academy actually has an award for Best Choreography, and it’s about time she won it.
While Moore herself may not be a household name you’re probably familiar with her work. Before “La La Land” Moore choreographed dances for “Silver Linings Playbook, “American Hustle” and “Joy” on the big screen. On television, she’s choreographed dances for “Modern Family” and the two leading dance-centric reality television shows: “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance. The latter of those competition series earned Moore four Emmy nominations: in 2008 for the routine “Table” set to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)”; 2011 for the routines “Oh Yeah,” “Boogie Shoes” and “I Surrender”; 2013 for the routines “The Power of Love” and “Wild Horses”; and 2014 for the routines “Edge of Glory,” “Feelin’ Good” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
Imagine “La La Land” without its opening number “Another Day of Sun” or its final bittersweet dance between stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film would have been incomplete — that’s how significant Moore’s contribution was. But sadly for Moore, there’s no category for her at the Oscars, and Honorary Oscars are more of a lifetime achievement award these days. When the academy first handed out trophies they often awarded Honorary Oscars for a single contribution to a film. For example, at the very first ceremony (1927/1928) Charlie Chaplin was bestowed an Honorary Oscar for acting, writing, directing and producing “The Circus.” At the ninth Oscars (1936) W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson were awarded for their color cinematography for “The Garden of Allah.” Jerome Robbins, even after sharing Best Director with Robert Wise for “West Side Story” (1961), was awarded an Honorary Oscar for his brilliant choreography.
But even though Moore wasn’t recognized at the Oscars for her contribution to “La La Land,” the film could still help her earn an Emmy as she choreographed the “City of Stars”/“Audition” performance at the Academy Awards. Multiple dancers surrounded John Legend as he sang the two nominated songs, recapturing her beautiful choreography from the film. That might be her best bet at a nomination and an overdue victory even though she could also be considered for her work this season on “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars,” the Grammy Awards telecast or the Golden Globes telecast (she choreographed its opening number).
Should Moore receive her fifth Emmy nomination, her sheer volume of work and the added notoriety from “La La Land” could make her the favorite to win. Best Choreography is usually presented at the Creative Arts Awards ceremony, but hopefully the academy would present the award during the main telecast as they did in 2014, allowing the “Another Day of Sun” mastermind to have her day in the sun.
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