by David West
At this time of the year, most of America’s hype is behind the Super Bowl, which is understandable. But after February 5th, there’s still plenty of gold to go around during award season.
This year’s Academy Awards feature a far more diverse list of nominees than last year’s. Not only are there six black actors nominated, as opposed to zero last year, but there’s a far greater variety of talent, as well. There are many first-time nominees, such as Andrew Garfield and Dev Patel, well as as veteran actors like Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.
For Best Picture, La La Land seems set for victory. It’s brought a flare to cinema that we haven’t seen for a long time, and it’s talented cast has driven it to universal acclaim and commercial success. If i does take the grand prize, as its favored to, it will be the first musical since 2002’s Chicago to win Best Picture.
When it comes to acting, it doesn’t get much better than Denzel Washington. He’s already going down as one of the GOAT’s, and on top of that, he’s likely to come home with the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Fences. His portrayal of a small-time sanitation worker struggling with his broken dreams of playing major-league baseball is brilliant. It doesn’t quite top his electrifying turn in Training Day, but it’s still a wonder to behold.
Emma Stone sure has come a long way since Superbad. She’s consistently proven herself to be a seriously talented actress, capable of just about anything at this point. Her performance in Birdman, which earned her her first nomination, will sure be hard to beat. But for now, she’s doing a great job at trying. La La Land provided her with yet another opportunity to show off her versatility, as she adapted to the musical genre like a seasoned Broadway star. As of now, she’s the nominee to beat when it comes to Best Actress.
La La Land just won’t let up. Not only is it likely to snag Best Picture and help Emma Stone win her first Oscar, but it’s also favored to propel director Damien Chazelle to victory. Chazelle blew our minds in 2014 with the electrifying Whiplash, an intense drama about psychological torture and mental abuse. Now, in 2017, he’s nominated for directing a musical with “La La” in the title. Chazelle’s certainly proven himself worthy of that Oscar gold, and with the way things are looking now, he’s likely to get it.
Come the Academy Awards, the greatest talent of 2016 will be awarded gold. There’s no telling who’s gonna be coming home with a shining statue, so be sure to tune in on February 26th.