After a lengthy, grueling Oscar season, Damien Chazelle's La La Land was thrown for a loop at the very last minute in the Dolby Theatre on February 26. To go over what happened again would be totally pointless, as the story quickly became Hollywood legend. But it's safe to say that it wasn't the result that anyone expected, and for a heavily favored film, it was probably a bit of a letdown. However, let's not feel too bad for team La La- the film won 6 Oscars, has grossed nearly $400 million at the worldwide box office, and will likely be credited with the rebirth of the original musical. Oh, and it firmly established Damien Chazelle as one of the finest filmmakers working today. Chazelle walked away with the Best Director award, etched in the history books as the youngest winner in the history of the category. He's the most famous young filmmaker since Quentin Tarantino's meteoric rise in the early 1990s, and of course, the question on everybody's mind is this- has he peaked too soon? With the one-two punch of Whiplash and La La Land, two of the most beloved films of the decade so far, it's hard to see where Chazelle goes from here.
But even the weight of expectations won't be slowing the 32-year old director down, as he quickly lined up First Man as his next project. A biopic of iconic astronaut Neil Armstrong, the film was announced over the holiday season, with La La star Ryan Gosling set to play the reclusive American hero. It was announced in December that Universal would be releasing the film, but no release date was announced. Some immediately speculated that Chazelle and Gosling would have it done in time for the 2017 Oscar season, but today, we learned that won't be the case. First Man is now set to hit theaters on October 12, 2018, indicating that Universal will be following the pattern of recent Oscar-winning films (October and November seem to be the new sweet spot). The studio hasn't had a Best Picture nominee since Les Miserables in 2012, but I have a good feeling about this one. Chazelle has subverted expectations at every turn, and I have faith that he'll deliver an unconventional biopic. In a crowded month that includes James Wan's Aquaman and another Jungle Book movie (this one is coming from Andy Serkis), Chazelle's hotly anticipated film is sure to stand out.
Images courtesy of Lionsgate