‘La La Land,’ ‘Loving’ and ‘A Monster Calls’ trailers fuel some Oscar buzz

Which of these are real awards season players?
A magical moment from 'La La Land'

It’s that time of year again. Yes, the festival season is almost upon us which means the unceremonial kick off to awards season is almost here. It also means lots and lots of new trailers for movies only hyped about for months on end. Over the past 48 hours three significant players dropped previews of the wares: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” and Jeff Nichols’ “Loving.” Let’s take a peak, shall we?

“La La Land”
Already pegged to open the 2016 Venice Film Festival, “Land” is a romantic musical set in Los Angeles (hence the title) that stars the ever-adorable Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. This preview is essentially the same footage Lionsgate showed at CinemaCon in April although in this case the accompanying music is original song sung by none other than Gosling himself. In fact, you can already download “City of Stars” on iTunes and it’s a welcome reminder that “Zootopia’s” “Try Everything” has some competition in the Best Original Song race. The footage blew people away on social media, but was old hat for those of us who saw it in Vegas. That being said, I’ll continue to stand by this one fact. If you premiere your movie at Venice and wait to release it in theaters in December you must have a lot of faith in it. At worst, expect “La La Land” dominate the musical/comedy nominations for the Golden Globes.

“A Monster Calls”
Whether it’s a true Oscar player remains to be seen, but J.A. Bayona continues to impress (his own trailer correctly refers to him as a “visionary filmmake”) in his follow up to 2012’s “The Impossible,” one of the most underrated films of the decade. The question is whether the adaptation of this acclaimed young adult novel can be a cinematic tearjerker it needs to be to win over Academy members. Felicity Jones has a shot at a Best Supporting Actress nod (and so in theory could Sigourney Weaver), but, at worst, it’s another tempting taste of Bayona’s talents before he tackles the “Jurassic World” sequel for Universal.

Admittedly, I was a fan of Jeff Nichols’ period drama when it premiered at Cannes. It’s a very emotionally restrained picture, but that’s because its subjects – the Lovings – were pretty low key people (at least according to their daughter and those who remember them). Audiences may get frustrated by how little anger Mildred and Richard Loving display on screen, but it all leads up to a stirring climax that hit this pundit like a hammer. Thankfully, the trailer wonderfully includes David Wingo’s beautiful score (there isn’t enough of it in the movie itself) and showcases the great lead performances from Joel Edgerton and expected Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga. It will be very interesting to if the picture is greeted more warmly at at Toronto and possibly the NYFF than it was at Cannes.

As for contenders we’re still waiting for official previews for? “Lion,” “Allied,” “Arrival,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Fences,” “20th Century Women” and “Rules Don’t Apply” are on the clock.

What is your take on these new previews? Change your perception in anyway?  Share your thoughts with me on twitter @thegregorye

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.

Awards Campaign provides commentary and insight on the movie industry. It's also the current online home of Gregory Ellwood, an industry veteran who has covered the movie business and Oscar campaigns for over a decade. For more information including partnerships and advertising opportunities please E-mail info@awardscampaign.com.