Los Angeles (Reuters): From "Singin' in the Rain" to "The Wizard of Oz," musicals haven't traditionally seen much love from the Oscars. But "La La Land" has changed all that, tapping into a desire for escapism and sending Hollywood scrambling to dust off its dancing shoes.
With a leading 14 Academy Award nominations including best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay, Damien Chazelle's love letter to Los Angeles is favorite to waltz away with an armful of Oscars on Sunday and revive musicals as a force to be reckoned with. "The country is so sad right now and 'La La Land' is the only escapist movie," said Craig Zadan, co-producer with Neil Meron of "Chicago," the last musical to win a best picture Oscar in 2002.
"The others are artistically wonderful, but they are not necessarily peppy and boost you into a flight of fancy. The cards are all aligned for this to be the year of the musical again." It's been a long time coming. Musicals have long been snubbed in the top categories by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"That's probably because musicals just aren't as cool as they used to be and Academy members care a lot about what's cool," said Tom O'Neil, founder of awards website Goldderby.com. "The miraculous thing about 'La La Land' is that it's anti-cool -- shamelessly and joyously old-fashioned. It's performing so well with Oscar voters because of its impressive craftsmanship," he added.