Golden Globes: Best Original Song

This wasn’t the post I was planning on writing today, but I spent three hours watching the Golden Globes, and these are some of my thoughts on the awards. Moana, one of the best films I saw this year didn’t win Best Animated Feature or Best Original Song, losing to Zootopia and La La Land respectively, two films which I enjoyed. In fairness to Moana, every other film lost to La La Land as well. Of all the things that happened at the Golden Globes, one of the weirdest awards ceremonies in the world, the Best Original Song win annoyed me the most.

I like La La Land. The reasons I love it are all to do in the last ten minutes more than anything it has to do with the film industry and dreamers. There were issues with the sound mixing that meant that it was sometimes really difficult to hear the lyrics. Also: what was the point of choreographing tap in “A Lovely Night” if you can’t even hear it? I love musicals, so I was predisposed to love La La Land. For the most part, the songs are fantastic, and I knew the Original Song award would be a battle between La La Land and Moana this year, because Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda co-wrote most of the songs.

The weak point in La La Land’s soundtrack is “City of Stars,” sung by Ryan Gosling, and the film’s submission to the category for Best Original Song. Just looking at the La La Land soundtrack, here are the songs that are better than “City of Stars”:

  • Another Day of Sun: The film’s opening number, which had some mixing issues in the film, but I’m happy every time I hear those notes on the piano.
  • Someone in the Crowd: We don’t see much of Emma Stone’s housemates in this film, but they seem like a lot of fun.
  • A Lovely Night: The start of Stone and Gosling’s flirtation, and the film’s only number with tap dancing. As mentioned previously, the tap is really hard to hear.
  • Audition (The Fools Who Dream): This is the best song in the film.

These are all songs on the La La Land soundtrack that are better than “City of Stars.” The one I’d submit for awards is “Audition,” which was the high point of the film before anyone saw the last ten minutes. “Audition” is also the only song I’d consider voting for over Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go.” In the songs that were nominated for the Golden Globe, “How Far I’ll Go” is easily the best, in terms of both writing and performance. “City of Stars” is an okay song about how everything seems brighter when you fall in love, and Ryan Gosling has an okay voice. “How Far I’ll Go” is an inspirational song about the desire for wanting more than what you’re given, even though it seems like you have everything, and belief in yourself and the power of possibility. Also Auli’i Cravalho is only 16, but she can sing Gosling AND Stone under the table. As always when it comes to these things, it’s a matter of opinion, so as much as I enjoyed La La Land, I’m going to listen to the Moana soundtrack.

Other thoughts:

  • I think Questlove was the DJ at the ceremony, and he was playing a song from The Hamilton Mixtape when they returned from an ad break, which I hope was a purposeful move on his part.
  • As much as I like La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s previous film Whiplash is one of the best I’ve seen in the last five years. At tonight’s Golden Globes I learned that he wasn’t even nominated for writing or directing two years ago.
  • The way nominations work, Audition could end up as a nominee for the Oscars, so it could be interesting. People are talking more about Justin Timberlake’s song in Trolls more than “How Far I’ll Go,” which seems ridiculous.
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