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Record-breaking possibilities at Oscars this year

Doménica Castro, Special to The Quad

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So far, TV has entertained us with the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Grammy Awards, and now, as Sunday, Feb. 26 looms importantly ahead of us, the heralded Academy Awards wait patiently around the corner. With Jimmy Kimmel as the host, the 89th round of the famed Oscars ceremony aims to honors noteworthy films that we’ve come to love, or at least hear about, in 2016. Among the nominees for best picture are “Moonlight,” “Fences,” “Arrival,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Hidden Figures” and, of course, “La La Land.”

“La La Land,” with exactly 14 nominations, is coming into this competition as the favorite to win by critics. After securing all seven of the Golden Globes it was nominated for last month, director Damien Chazelle’s piece looks primed to break the Oscar’s record for most Academy Awards won by a film.

The highest number of Academy Awards won by a film caps off at 11, the record currently carried by “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” Additionally, “The Return of the King” claimed all 11 awards in the categories for which it was nominated, which is doubly impressive.

“La La Land,” for those who have not seen it, is an extremely charming film that speaks volumes about life as a starving artist in Hollywood and the hard sacrifices one makes to fulfill their dreams.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling both star as the romantic, singing duo who must decide what choices are best for their career versus the decisions that best support their relationship. I remember sitting down in the movie theatre with apprehension, thinking for sure what lay ahead of me was a cheesy montage of dancing in the sky. But I was wrong. Sure, there was a montage of sky-dancing, but it was by no means done in poor taste. Most raise a suspicious eyebrow when the term “jazz musical” is coined, but “La La Land” is a film where the ever-present whimsicality is difficult to describe with words. Whereas the Tony Awards last year had “Hamilton” dominating the event, this season “La La Land” is the ultimate cinematic force.

The Broadway hit “Hamilton” won’t be at the Academy Awards, but that doesn’t mean its star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda won’t be there. Due to his work on the music of Disney’s latest princess movie, “Moana,” Miranda now has the opportunity of being the youngest person to win the EGOT.

If Miranda wins an Oscar for his original piece, “How Far I’ll Go,” he will have won an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar all in the same year. Currently, the youngest person with an EGOT is Robert Lopez, who was critically acclaimed for his work on the music score for Disney’s “Frozen.” “Let it Go” won the Best Original Song at the Academy Awards back in 2014.

Miranda, 37, will be attending his first Oscars ceremony this weekend with interviews and reports that he is endlessly thrilled. Having seen “Moana,” I know I personally cried profusely both times I watched it. A wonderful tale following a young chieftain’s daughter, “Moana” features a strong islander princess who is willing to cross the ocean to save her people and her home. The hit movie also features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who cranks out a powerful Disney tune.

As much as I would love for Miranda to win the EGOT, the particular category his song is nominated in also has to go up against two songs for “La La Land,” which, as I’ve said before, offers stiff competition. “City of Stars,” as well as “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” are both nominated for Original Song, and both tunes are excellent songs in their own right. Regardless of the winner, this Academy Awards offers a wide variety of films, which even if they don’t reel in awards, are being recognized through nomination of their significance to pop culture.

Doménica Castro is a first-year student majoring in theater. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
Record-breaking possibilities at Oscars this year