La La Land written and directed by Damien Chazelle was the front runner of the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, 2017 with 14 nominations. It already made Oscar history with 14 nominations, which tied the previous records for the most nominations with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997).
It is an homage to Los Angeles and a throw back to the musical genre with a modern flare brought to screen by dreamers played by Emma Stone (an aspiring actress) and Ryan Gosling (a jazz pianist), in their third feature film together.
Best Cinematography went to Linus Sandgren who shot the film predominantly in long takes in CinemaScope. It’s a widescreen technology used from 1953 – 1967 in films which inspired La La Land such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. The vibrant colors and sweeping Los Angeles landscapes transcended with original music by Chazelle’s former Harvard University roommate, Justin Hurwitz, made hearts sore and hopeful for Stone and Gosling to have their fairy tale ending.
I was rooting for La La Land to sweep all the categories.
• Directing – Damian Chazelle
• Actress in a Leading Role – Emma Stone
• Cinematography – Linus Sandgren
• Original Score – Justin Hurwitz
• Original Song – “City of Stars, Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
• Production Design – David Wasco
As the ceremony was coming to a close, all the winners of the main categories were easily predicted. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway hesitated to announce the final award of the night for Best Picture around midnight EST to La La Land, which was favored to win. After the 3 producers gave their acceptance speeches, there was a commotion on stage with the stage manager checking the winners’ cards. La La Land producer, Jordan Horowitz, took the card and suddenly said that Moonlight has won Best Picture and it was not a joke. A GASP resonated inside the Dolby Theater as well as around the world from 32.9 million stunned viewers.
#Oscars won internet gold for making this the most exciting Oscars in history. It’s a shame for La La Land to not win the top prize but they were gracious to concede to Moonlight. Fast Company Design believes the mix up could have been alleviated with simple changes in the winning cards’ topography or font sizes. Bravo for the practical design resolution.