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Oscar Whiplash Likely for Damien Chazelle’s LA LA Land & Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Oh, to ruin Award Season… but isn’t that what we’re on earth for? To have our dreams shattered but then our lives uplifted, if only in the movies? Enter LA LA LAND, a singing, dancing act of pure wish fulfillment starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Wait, a musical? Don’t be fooled. This is classic cinema updated with today’s angst. Stone says “the idea of this really modern story of two artists and dreamers” hooked her immediately. Ryan Gosling admits it was “a secret wish of mine” to make classic musicals.

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LA LA LAND is the latest gift from Harvard-alum Damien Chazelle who brought us that inimitable gem, WHIPLASH. He’s the one who played drums in high school, which inspired the driven core character played by Miles Teller. In 2014, the then newcomer-director made the award show rounds for WHIPLASH. He even found himself seated on stage for AFI Fest with Tilda Swinton, Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Marion Cotillard, plus other famous names. Chazelle seemed already tipped as someone who would make a mark in the movies. This may be the Rhode Island native’s Oscar year as a Best Director contender. This new movie also makes you forget he wrote 10 Cloverfield Lane, the horror thriller, but it’s just gliding on the Oscar that he is a viable screenwriter-for-hire in Hollywood too. (The connective tissue is Chazelle’s interest in demons, one’s own creative demons that drive great performances or in supernatural ones in his love of horror movies.)

AFI Fest 2014, and they already know Chazelle is a star talent.

AFI Fest 2014, and they already know Chazelle is a star talent. Far right, seated beside Marion Cotillard.

Fittingly Chazelle studied Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard, and LA LA LAND is truly a visual and environmental tableaux as far as eye candy. And of course the casting is stellar. (Does everybody know Ryan Gosling was a Disney Channel kid star with Justin Timberlake? He was.) Chazelle says he considers Gosling and Stone to be like “Bogie and Bacall” and other great screen couples. Consider it Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay – if in nominations only, if not an outright sweep of the major categories. (Except for Viola Davis, who will take the category, and absolutely dominate, as Best Supporting Actress for FENCES, hopefully.)

LA LA LAND, yes that’s three words not a compound noun as in the pejorative for Los Angeles. Think Everyone Says I Love You by Woody Allen meets Your Favorite Behind the Scenes Classic 30’s Musical. Wait. Think Hamilton-like reboot of a slick, often goofy, cloying even when iconic, genre that just found its authentic swing. That’s what LA LA LAND becomes. Chazelle has a huge advantage because his background is so deep in the nuances and heartbreaking ability of music (i.e.; WHIPLASH) that he tugs the audience along by the ear as well as the eye in this pastel colored “real-life” twinged singing, dancing triumph.

LALA1sht16Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are both “triple threats,” according to J.K. Simmons, who plays Ryan’s boss in this one and also starred with Teller in WHIPLASH (where Simmons picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). Triple threat, for those of you under the age of 40, is Hollywood Golden Age lingo for the rare actors with the triple skills of singing, dancing, and acting. Remember the Dirty Dancing scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love? These two are giving new life to the idea of Silver Screen Super Couple Chemistry where Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper – who promised so much in Silver Linings Playbook – let us down hard lately, ouch in Serena, even in JOY.

Since Gosling and Stone killed it as a love pair in Crazy, Stupid, Love, they are matched like dancing shoes in LA LA LAND… now for the featurette courtesy of Lionsgate.

Here’s the insider story…

Find out more at http://www.lalaland.movie, but see WHIPLASH again in the meantime for the first jazz-musician themed Chazelle movie. LA LA LAND is his second excursion with a strong jazz focused storyline as Ryan Gosling plays a struggling jazz man who keeps running into Emma Stone’s struggling actor character. Coming off her career high in BIRDMAN (Michael Keaton), Emma Stone just keeps getting better and better. And this film makes you believe there is a place for dreaming, even in these cynical times.

LA LA LAND had a limited roll out on Dec. 9 and will no doubt go wider soon as it just received seven Golden Globe nominations, 8 Critics Choice Award nominations, after winning National Board of Review’s Top 10 Films of the Year, and Best Film from New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

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In Case You Wonder Where Warren Beatty Has Been & “Rules Don’t Apply” At AFI

 

SCREENMANCER AFI ALERT: LOS ANGELES, CA, August 30, 2016 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that the World Premiere of New Regency and 20th Century Fox’s RULES DON’T APPLY — written, directed, produced by and starring AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award® winner Warren Beatty — will be the Opening Night Gala of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi on Thursday, November 10, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The cast also includes Academy Award® nominees Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Steve Coogan and Ed Harris, as well as Haley Bennett, Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Taissa Farmiga, Megan Hilty, Oliver Platt and Martin Sheen.

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For the 13th consecutive year, AFI FEST will showcase the very best in global cinema thanks to the visionary support of presenting sponsor Audi. “Warren Beatty has charmed and challenged moviegoers from his first moment on screen, and his talents as an actor, director, writer and producer have always transcended trends,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. “AFI is honored to present the World Premiere of his newest gift to America’s cultural legacy.”

“We are launching the 30th edition of AFI FEST with a new Warren Beatty film that takes place in 1950s Hollywood. Romantic entanglements, the youthful pursuit of success and an outlandish billionaire are brought to life by a remarkable ensemble cast,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director, AFI FEST. “On Opening Night, the TCL Chinese Theatre, the quintessential temple of cinema in Hollywood, will shine a light on RULES DON’T APPLY.”

The 30th edition of AFI FEST takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.

Patron packages ensure reserved seats for Opening Night and all proceeds benefit the educational programs of the American Film Institute. A limited number of individual tickets to Opening Night and other screenings are also made available at no charge thanks to the event sponsors. Go to AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets are available at AFI.combeginning November 1.

As part of their membership benefits, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings and special offers at this year’s festival. Additionally, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above level receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes. Information about AFI membership is available at AFI.com/membership.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2016, once again championing innovative filmmakers from around the globe through its steadfast support of the festival and AFI’s mission.

Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.

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Just What Is RULES DON‘T APPLY?
An aspiring young actress (Lily Collins) and her ambitious young driver (Alden Ehrenreich) struggle hopefully with the absurd eccentricities of the wildly unpredictable billionaire (Warren Beatty) for whom they work.

It’s Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes’ number one rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes’ behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.

To learn more about RULES DON’T APPLY, visit the film’s official website at http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/rules-dont-apply. In theaters November 23, 2016.

Why We Love The American Film Institute (AFI)…
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by AudiAFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilmfacebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteinstagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

And Why AFI FEST Is a Fan of Audi…
A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today’s Hollywood — a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world. Celebrating its 30th edition, AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®. This year’s edition takes place November 10–17, 2016. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFEST and youtube.com/AFIFEST.

Shameless Plug for Audi
Audi of America, Inc., and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Through 2019, AUDI AG plans to invest about 24 billion euros – 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Visit http://www.audiusa.com or http://www.audiusa.com/newsroom for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and applaud AFI.

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A Tale of Two Maestros: John Williams & Spielberg at AFI, on TCM

SCREENMANCER GALA ALERT:

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STEVEN SPIELBERG TO PRESENT JOHN WILLIAMS
WITH AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE’S LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Williams to Be Honored at AFI Gala Tribute Event on Thursday, June 9, 2016

TNT to Premiere AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS
on June 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT

Steven Spielberg will present John Williams with the American Film Institute’s 44th Life Achievement Award. This marks the first time in AFI history that America’s highest honor for a career in film will be bestowed upon a composer. Williams’ career will be celebrated at the private Gala Tribute on June 9, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The televised special, AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS, will air on TNT on June 15 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/ PT), followed by an encore presentation on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on September 12 during a night of programming dedicated to John Williams. This marks the fourth year the Emmy®-winning AFI special has aired on Turner networks.

The September 12 TCM lineup, including presentations of AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS and the 2011 special AFI’S MASTER CLASS: THE ART OF COLLABORATION – STEVEN SPIELBERG AND JOHN WILLIAMS, will be as follows:

8:00 p.m. AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS (2016)
10:15 p.m. JAWS (1975)
12:30 a.m. AFI’S MASTER CLASS: THE ART OF COLLABORATION – STEVEN SPIELBERG AND JOHN WILLIAMS (2011)
1:30 a.m. AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS (2016)
2:45 a.m. THE COWBOYS (1972)
5:15 a.m. GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (1969)

Spielberg received the 23rd AFI Life Achievement Award in 1995. Together, he and Williams have collaborated on over 25 projects including JAWS (1975), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982), JURASSIC PARK (1993), SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993), SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998), CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002), LINCOLN (2012) and the upcoming THE BFG (2016).

John Williams’ storied career as the composer behind many of the greatest American films and television series of all time boasts more than 150 credits across seven decades. Whether epic in scale, jazz-infused, or intimate and personal, his music has helped define over half a century of the motion picture medium. Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores — a list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time — including the unforgettable score for STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE (1977), which ranks at number one. With five Academy Award® wins and 50 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar® nominations of any living person.