Celebrating the year’s best films at Los Angeles Confidential’s biannual Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards with Moonlight director Berry Jenkins.
Los Angeles, ready for her close up!
In this, our annual Oscars issue, it’s unusual for us to play favorites with any individual film, especially in a year with an exceptional lineup of well-vetted and worthy contenders for the Best Picture category. Still, one film above all others has continued to pull at my heartstrings. Since opening the Venice Film Festival last August, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, has charmed critics and audiences alike, and has already been honored with a record seven Golden Globe Awards, eight Critics’ Choice Awards, and 14 Academy Award nominations, tied for the most in Oscars history.
Hamilton CEO Sylvain Dolla, Arrival lead Amy Adams with the film’s production designer, Patrice Vermette.
On November 6 last year, Los Angeles Confidential was one of the first to celebrate the film at our biannual Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards by honoring upstart musical talent Justin Hurwitz as “Composer of the Year” for his role in the production. Creating a modern-day musical was seemingly a risky venture, but Whiplash (2014) director Chazelle’s ode to classic Hollywood and the City of Angels is pure magic. The central “meet cute” plot (as we say in the Industry!) may just turn out to be one of the best love letters Los Angeles has ever known. Shot and edited entirely in LA, La La Land features 60 locations around the city in a swoon-worthy, toe-tapping, sing-along, feel-good dreamscape that showcases our city like no other movie in recent memory.
La La Land composer Justin Hurwitz.
Our hometown has of course been prominently featured in feature films since the golden age of Hollywood, as far back as Sunset Boulevard and Singin’ in the Rain—however, La La Land’s ethereal portrayal captures the most civilized and genteel snapshots of our fair city. Epic atmospheric renderings even make our traffic jams seem romantic, as filmed on the 105 and 110 interchange over the course of two days. The sprawling backdrops of Mt. Hollywood Drive and the Griffith Park Observatory, the Watts Towers and the Hermosa Beach Pier, remind us of something we all know intrinsically, which is that LA is one of the most amazing and diverse cities in the world! Bravo to Lionsgate on such a magnificent work of art, and congratulations to all nominees in one of the best movie seasons in recent years. As the film’s lyrics say, “City of stars, are you shining just for me?” In this case, they surely are.