La La Land tipped for Oscars glory after win at Toronto Film Festival 2016

The following news article is posted on the Guardian Film’s online page: 

“La La Land has taken the top honour at the Toronto film festival. The Los Angeles-set musical world premiered on the opening night film of the Venice film festival and screened in Telluride, before debuting in Toronto. The movie – Damien Chazelle’s third – has attracted raves from reviewers, with especial praise for Emma Stone’s performance as a struggling actor, whose relationship to her jazz pianist boyfriend (Ryan Gosling) becomes strained when his career begins to overtake hers. Stone was named best actress at last Saturday’s Venice film festival awards.

The film is the follow-up by Chazelle, 31, to audience-pleasing drumming drama Whiplash, which won three Oscars, including best supporting actor for JK Simmons. La La Land is his second musical, following Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, a little-seen micro-budget jazz musical, originally planned as his thesis project for Harvard Film School (he briefly left Harvard to focus on finishing the film).

“La La Land is about the city I live in, it’s about the music that I grew up playing, it’s about movies that I grew up watching,” Chazelle told the Guardian in Telluride, before screening it in Toronto. “Even the big spectacle of the movie feels private to me in that way.”

The People’s Choice Award is a proven indicator for future awards glory: past winners which have proceeded to the bag the best picture Oscar include Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech and 12 Years a Slave.

The runner-up for this year’s prize was Garth Davis’s directorial debut, Lion, starring Dev Patel as a young man adopted as a child who uses Google Maps to track down the family he left in India. The inspirational and fact-based story also stars Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara. Another real-life drama, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, about a 10-year-old Ugandan girl who trains to become a world chess champion, took third place.

The juried Platform award, established last year to celebrate international auteurs, went to Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, and unfolding shortly before and after her husband’s assassination. Brian De Palma, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Zhang Ziy, who ruled on the prize, said: “Our decision was unanimous. We found one film that combined an extraordinary script with precise direction and unforgettable acting.” The prize comes with a $25,000 prize – $10,000 more than the main winner receives.

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, a high-profile shoot-up comedy starring Brie Larson and Armie Hammer, won the equivalent of the People’s Choice Award for the Midnight Madness sidebar – a lineup comprised of genre films. The second runner up for the award went to Julia Ducournau’s cannibal thriller Raw, which caused some audience members to faint at its Toronto premiere.

Author: Nigel M Smith; source:


“La La Land” has done very well, and could do equally well at the Oscars next year, especially given that the Academy has a soft spot for movies with a nostalgic element to them, remember “The Artist” (2011) and “Hugo” (2011) which won five Academy Awards each? Of course, Scorsese with his upcoming “Silence” (2016) can still upset the situation, and there are other worthy contenders for the coveted Best Picture Award, such as “Moonlight” and “Lion”, but there are big opportunities here. 

Regarding the Toronto Film Festival itself, I am pleased with the result overall, though I am a tad disappointed that “Queen of Katwe” gave way to “Lion” in a runner-up rankings, and that “Loving” and “A United Kingdom” went away without special prizes. 


4 Responses to La La Land tipped for Oscars glory after win at Toronto Film Festival 2016

  1. Jay says:

    I adored La La Land. It’s so much bigger than a movie.
    I saw Lion too. Was surprised by all the buzz but it is quite good.
    Also saw Jackie. It’s definitely praise-worthy.

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