La La Land became the Best Picture frontrunner from the moment it premiered at the Venice Film festival. And while it’s facing some heat from Sundance darling’s Manchester By The Sea and critic’s favorite and box office anomaly Moonlight, the new trailer suggests that distributor Summit Entertainment is going all out for awards glory.
Where the first trailer did a beautiful job at establishing the film’s stunning visuals and Emma Stone’s crystalline voice, the new trailer does a better job at establishing the plot. Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress who has has zero luck with landing an audition. To pass the time, she works as a waitress. Her life changes when she meets Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist looking for his big break. What follows is a magical romance that’s ultimately threatened by our protagonists’ dreams and aspirations. Academy Award and Grammy winner John Legend co-stars as a fellow musician and friend of Sebastian, along with Rosemarie Dewitt (Rachel Getting Married), J.K. Simmons (Whipslash) and Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story).
Stone already picked up a Best Actress award in Venice for her performance, and is set to go head to head with Natalie Portman as the one to beat for the Oscar. The film itself won the coveted People’s Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival, which usually indicates what film will go on to win Best Picture at the Oscar (or at the very least be nominated). As I mentioned, there are strong cases for Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight, but La La Land has the most heat as of right now. It appeals to everything Oscar voters love in the same way Best Picture winner The Artist did, and could be nominated in nearly every single category.
Chazelle’s previous film Whiplash was very popular with Oscar voters in its year, winning an award for JK Simmons’ performance, editing and sound mixing. That kind of broad support is important when vying to win Best Picture; you need the support of all the different branches to win big.
But of course, it’s still too early to tell. La La Land still has yet to open (though it does have a screening at the AFI fest scheduled), and we still have yet to hear from the critics groups to get some kind of consensus on how some of these categories will solidify/where the heat is. That being said, this is the kind of trailer you want to have for a crowd pleasing Best Picture hopeful. This is still a three way race in a lot of ways, but what a way to remind people that La La Land still has heat.
Watch the trailer below.