Despite the Oscar mix-up where La La Land was mistakenly given the award for Best Picture instead of Moonlight, the movie still won five Oscars, ranging from Best Actress (Emma Stone) to Best Production Design, and rightfully so.
I, however, am somewhat glad that it did not receive the Oscar for Best Picture, because it did not deserve it. From not going far enough towards being a full-blown musical to not being enough of its own thing, La La Land has its flaws. It’s still a great movie, though.
It tried to be a musical, but ultimately ended up being a movie with songs. Most musicals have fifteen to twenty songs (not counting any kind of background music) that tie strongly into the plot, while La La Land merely had six songs, including the song that is sung on a stage, and technically does not count because it’s a song in the movie, and not a song as a way to further the plot. While the songs were good for the most part (“A Lovely Night” was a waste of a song and a sequence), they do not do enough for the plot. “Another Day of Sun” sets the movie up to be fast-paced, happy, a lot of fun, and a full-blown musical, which it is not. Not at all.
In fact, even though they were good songs, for the most part, they felt shoehorned in, which almost made the movie a bit worse than it would’ve been without music. They made a good movie that could have been better, with good songs that should have been better and more plentiful This mix of two things that could’ve been done better but ultimately were not just is not worthy of an Oscar for Best Picture.
Secondly, La La Land is an homage to musicals from the last century, but in doing so is not enough of its own thing. With its beautiful and vibrant visuals, it pays tribute to so many musicals that we know and love, which is charming, but at the same time there are so many that it takes away from the whole movie as a whole. In trying to pay tribute to these musicals, it lacks something to really make it unique. Other than the catchy songs, and the ending that surprised anyone waiting for a feel-good movie, nothing really stays with you. A movie that is not memorable as a whole does not really deserve an Oscar for Best Picture.
La La Land was a great movie, but in the end, it would not have deserved to win the Oscar for best picture. It tries to do two things, but doesn’t do them as well as it could have, instead of using the potential of the story to its fullest, and stumbles over itself. It would have been better if it had many more songs that further the plot in meaningful ways, but in the end, it did not deliver as well as it could have. Thanks to all this, it didn’t receive the Oscar for Best Picture.