One think we’ll say about Hollywood is that it’s consistent. You (and by you, we really mean ourselves) probably knew that when La La Land won 14 nominations in Oscar announcements earlier this year, putting it on par with Titanic and All About Eve. You guessed it when they swept the Golden Globes. But still you hoped that some sanity might prevail and that other notable films might earn nods at the 89th Academy Awards.
Some did for sure, but La La Land took a big chunk of the cake home. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did give nods to independents, Netflix and minorities, but there was a lot of La La-ing going around. Apart from Moonlight taking the Best Picture award home (and even that had La La Land drama due to PwC’s mixup with Oscar envelopes), and Casey Affleck scoring Best Actor, the feel-good musical movie scored 6 out of 14, including Best Actress, Director, Cinematography, Score, Production Design and Song. Here’s why we think it did so well.
1. Out of touch with reality
The film’s title itself is rather self-reflexive, the phrase suggesting that it’s living in its own world. And Los Angeles, which is also referenced in the title, and Hollywood itself is often pictured as being a completely different world from the rest of America. Especially right now, with a political sphere that is swinging to the right, the leftist attitudes of Californians and the Hollywood crowd must seem even more like a dream.
2. Creative integrity
At a time when everything in the US seems up for sale, Hollywood’s creations are generous with product placements and social media stars are selling out, creative integrity seems to matter more than ever. And artists will surely find the theme of staying true to yourself despite the pressures of society forcing conformity an appealing one.
3. Super self-starters
If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again and you will some how or other succeed. That seems to be the theme of Mia and Sebastian. And someone will give you lots of money to do the stuff you love and all your dreams will come true. Plus, there’s a pre-Kickstarter crowd-sourcing concept that floats around: if you can’t land a film audition, just write your own play and a casting director will find you.
4. Gentrification and nostalgia
The story theme seems to focus on the many things in life that fade away, that can’t be recaptured. Such as old school jazz and Hollywood musicals. Only, hipsters around the world seem to be bent on bringing all things old-school back and Hollywood musicals seem to be making a revival (hello, Beauty and the Beast).
Not that we didn’t like the film. It’s a right ol’ charmer and there’s plenty to love about it. It’s also a feel-good about Hollywood being what it is: a La La Land. What we did like about it is how Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling actually studied piano, singing and dancing for accuracy and how they injected actual audition rejections from their own past into the film. It’s not meant to reflect reality. It’s La La Land.
P.S. This opinion article was written by a cynic.