La La Land has surprisingly become a divisive film. It’s not its fault. It wasn’t a love it/hate it movie out of the gate like The Revenant was, but it has caught a bad case of “frontrunner syndrome.” That is, a movie that wins a record number of Golden Globes, beating out every other film that has ever won a Golden Globe and people start to mull it over. Thankfully for the producers of this film, there isn’t much time for it to have any impact on voting. The love for this is everywhere, from BAFTA to here, to the box office. To Damien Chazelle’s credit, and most people probably don’t know this, but many of La La Land’s tech nominees are women so the upside of a sweep is that a lot of women will be taking home Oscars.
But it sort of reminds me a bit of the Chicago year. That was before the Academy pushed the date back by one month and this became a rushed season. Back then, there really was time to mull and to bake and to think about a film’s worth. Chicago began to be hated much like La La Land is beginning to be hated – but really because they’re both musicals is the reason. Chicago was dark but it was also seen as trivial. La La Land is light and breezy by design but is catching some of that same flack. It didn’t really impact Chicago much but I remember the conversations at the time, wondering what might happen. I also remember The Pianist sneaking up from behind as the harder hitting, more “important” movie.
What does that mean? I don’t really know. I’ve honestly never lived through a year like this one because we’ve never had a President like one. We’ve never been encroaching on fascism like we are now. We’ve never been this close to a third world war within one week of someone taking office.
But my guess is that La La Land will win tonight’s PGA and will win Best Actress at the SAG awards. And then it will go on to win Oscars. The reason being, there isn’t an alternative film for voters to rally behind. So anyone who isn’t on board with La La Land will likely see their votes split up all over the place. Some will push for Moonlight, others will push for Hidden Figures or Fences or even Hacksaw Ridge or Hell or High Water. The trick with the preferential is to figure out what those voters will put second.
Since the PGA’s 10 are exactly Oscar’s 9 except one there is a good chance that what happens tonight is what will happen at the Oscars. I will be surprised if it’s any film other than La La Land. I just don’t think whatever negative feelings that have arisen have time to take hold. But if it’s any film other than La La Land, it might be Moonlight. Who knows. Stranger things have happened.
The Producers Guild happen late o’clock tonight and our very own Jazz Tangcay is there to cover the show. Make sure to follow her on Twitter, @jazzt.