Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Damien Chazelle wins 2017 DGA Award for 'La La Land'

We're in the home stretch of the 2016-17 Oscar season. The final ceremony is 20 days away, and there are only a few guilds that still need to hand out their awards for the best of the year. Saturday was a busy day for the race, as the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards, the Annie Awards, and the Directors Guild Awards were all handed out. Zootopia took the main Annie Awards as expected, while Lion's Grieg Fraser surprised with a win at the ASC, upsetting La La Land's Linus Sandgren. But even with the loss for Sandgren, it was still a great night for the hit movie musical. That was due to the fact that Damien Chazelle won his first DGA Award for his true feat of filmmaking, cementing him as the front-runner for the Best Director Oscar. Chazelle defeated fellow Oscar nominees Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, and Denis Villeneuve, while Lion's Garth Davis was only nominated by the DGA (Mel Gibson rounds out the Oscar group). Davis didn't walk away empty-handed- he won the Best First-Time Director category. Ezra Edelman also won in the documentary category for O.J.: Made in America.

Even though La La Land is firmly the favorite to win Best Picture, there were some questions swirling around Chazelle's odds for the Best Director Oscar. Moonlight's Barry Jenkins took several of the awards from the critics, which made things uncertain for the young filmmaker behind La La Land. But with this win, it's looking more and more likely that Chazelle will become the youngest director to ever take home the Oscar. La La Land is standing at 1/5 odds to win Best Picture, which is as sound of a bet as you can get these days. At this point, it's just a question of how many Oscars the film will win. Ryan Gosling likely won't win Best Actor, the film can't win both Best Song nominations, and there's a chance that Sound Editing and Screenplay could fall through. In the worst-case scenario, that would leave the film with a truly disastrous 10 Oscars. Seriously, Lionsgate needs to start worrying about this. In all seriousness, there's a good chance that if everything goes right, La La Land could win 12 Oscars, which would break the record set by Ben-Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. We're in truly historic territory now. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Images courtesy of Lionsgate

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