|Tom Hanks at Telluride; Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land|
Up until a week or so ago, I thought Manchester By the Sea was the odds-on favorite for this year’s top Oscar. Now I’m not so sure. Folks I’ve talked to who have seen La La Land are swooning over this film.
But what I found really remarkable was that during the audience meet-and-greet following the screening of Clint Eastwood’s Sully at the Telluride Film Festival, the film’s star, Tom Hanks, had this to say about la La Land, which also screened at Telluride:
"When you see something that is brand new, that you can’t imagine, and you think ‘well thank God this landed’, because I think a movie like La La Land would be anathema to studios. Number one, it is a musical and no one knows the songs.
"This is not a movie that falls into some sort of trend. I think it is going to be a test of the broader national audience, because it has none of the things that major studios want. Pre-awareness is a big thing they want, which is why a lot of remakes are going on. La La Land is not a sequel, nobody knows who the characters are. But if the audience doesn’t go and embrace something as wonderful as this then we are all doomed.
"We all understand the business aspects of it. It’s cruel and it’s backbreaking and take-no-prisoners. But there’s always that chance where the audience sees something that is brand new, that they never expected, and embraces it and celebrates it. We might be in the luxurious position that we can say we don’t have to pay attention to the trends, but there are other people whose parking spaces with their names on them are paid to follow these trends. I don’t take anything away from them and there are some good movies that come out of that. But we all go to the cinema for the same thing, that is to be transported to someplace we have never been before."
Praise like this coming from one of the most respected figures in Hollywood means a lot, especially from someone who came to Telluride to promote his own film. La La Land has moved to the top of my must-see list.