Emma Stone shines with Ryan Gosling in Damien Chazelle's La La Land Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Take the opening number from Jacques Demy's Les Demoiselles De Rochefort mixed with Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and copy to Los Angeles. Put girls in traffic light-colored dresses that vaguely resemble those from Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's On the Town. Add an introspective song, channeling Claudine Longet, from Blake Edwards' The Party - plus an elephant and mix in some Esther Williams underwater fun. Make a melody sound like the one given by Michel Legrand to Michel Piccoli's M Dame. Borrow from Fred Astaire: Sand Under Shoes in Mark Sandrich's Top Hat, A Fine Romance of George Stevens' Swing Time, and the lift in Charles Walters' The Belle Of New York. From Kelly: Seine dance, paintings coming to life, studio setting and It's Always Fair Weather - without the war. This is important. Omit the war! Also the one in Algeria as the reason for the couple to break apart, while otherwise spelling out the ending (including a child) of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
Oscar Best Actor nominee Ryan Gosling Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
James Baldwin, as voiced by Samuel L Jackson, in Raoul Peck's Oscar nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, explains how the American affinity for simplicity and sincerity results in the fact that "immaturity is taken to be a virtue too."
La La Land lacks anything controversial that these beautiful, consequential, memorable films have and instead offers variations on following your carefree dreams. The film with the most (14) Oscar nominations in 2017 thus ends up being a celebration of amnesia, narcissism and hypocrisy.
Best Picture; Director Damien Chazelle; Actress Emma Stone; Actor Ryan Gosling; Original Screenplay Damien Chazelle; Cinematography Linus Sandgren; Editing Tom Cross; Costume Design Mary Zophres; Original Score Justin Hurwitz; Sound Mixing Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steven Morrow; Sound Editing Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou; Original Song - Audition (The Fools Who Dream) - Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Original Song - City of Stars - Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Production Design David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco.
The 89th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebration takes place tonight, February 26, 2017.