“La La” Lands Fourteen Nominations…to my astonishment
Article by Ray Schillaci
I go through this every year about the snubs, but this year is so ridiculous. Puff over substance. Quality be damned. Fourteen Oscar nominations for LA LA Land! The writing is already on the wall. It’s a very sad day in this town. The arts have taken a nosedive. I refuse to apologize for this diatribe. I get it. Everybody wanted to feel good after all the heavy films and stuff going on in politics. You wanted something that fed your soul. But, did you have to settle for a short order of fast food with light on the entertainment factor?
And, I truly understand. It entertained (most of you). Responded to your inner artist and dreams (for most). Maybe I just can’t fathom the hoopla – and perhaps it’s all about timing.
A few nominations being tossed LA LA Land‘s way (art direction, costumes, perhaps even cinematography) were expected. But, RYAN GOSLING, Best Actor?! Did they just pick the metro-male poster boy and flavor-of-the-week over Joel Edgerton’s subtle characterization in Loving and Patrick Stewart (Green Room) – who by the way probably gave the finest chilling performance since Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man (which he was nominated for). By the way, where the hell was the recognition for Ben Foster’s portrayal of the rebel brother in Hell or High Water? And where was the love for the farting corpse, Daniel Radcliffe (Swiss Army Man)? All of these performances were wonderful compared to the nominal effort put into the role of Seb (Ryan Gosling). By the way, I can’t stand that hipster shortening for “Sebastian”. I don’t blame Gosling for the performance. The man has his limits and has been great in other roles. But, a song-and-dance man he is not.
Sing Street (a much better movie with music) was completely snubbed along with The VVitch, A Monster Calls, and Chan-wook Park’s The Handmaiden (not even considered for Best Foreign Film). Emma Stone (LA LA Land) over Amy Adams (Arrival and/or Nocturnal Animals), Annette Bening (20th Century Women) for the role of a lifetime, and/or Anya Taylor-Joy’s mesmerizing performance in The VVitch? Or even Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen), who gave a far better well rounded performance.
Damien Chazelle (LA LA Land) Best Director nod over Jeff Nichols’ beautifully poignant drama Loving (or even Midnight Special, put out the same year) and/or Robert Eggers’ brilliant telling of The VVitch or Martin Scorsese (Silence). They freckin’ snubbed Scorsese’s ten year project. Not to mention any of the superior directors from Marvel products – Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange and Deadpool (I’m a Marvel fan since the age of 11 – and I’m not apologizing for it).
There, I had my say. Do I feel better? No. Will I watch the Oscar telecast in all its dull, faded glory? This time, highly unlikely. Will anyone care? Nope. Ratings will continue to drop on this event, and I’ll just continue on rooting for substance and skill in storytelling in cinema whether it’s from independent or mainstream. In the meantime, if you have not seen the ones I’ve mentioned that have been snubbed, I highly recommend them (with possibly one exception – Swiss Army Man, I know – not for everyone, but damn…haven’t seen anything with such a strong independent voice since Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude).