This years other best picture nominees have heart, soul and humanity. Damien Chazelles tawdry, dispiriting confection has none its the tale of two narcissists who sacrifice love for self-interest
Rarely have the Oscars seen such a dead cert. If you fancy La La Land for best picture, the most attractive odds you will get are 9-2 on. The film is also nominated in another 13 categories, tying with Titanic and All About Eve for most ever nods. It has already snagged a record-breaking seven Golden Globes, and five Baftas.
Critics have been equally charmed. In Britain, the coveted five stars have been bestowed not just by the Sun, the Mirror and Metro, but also by the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph. Audiences have followed suit. The film has taken more than 10 times its $30m (24m) budget at the box office.
In such circumstances, you would expect a bit of a backlash, and a La La Land insurgency has duly kicked off. The male lead, Ryan Goslings Sebastian, has been indicted for boorishness and insensitivity. When he is not whitesplaining jazz, he is mansplaining it to Emma Stones Mia. Both characters have been thought shallow, and chemistry between them has been found lacking. Technique has also been faulted. Gosling and Stone are no Fred and Ginger in the hoofing stakes, and their reedy voices have disappointed. For some, the narrative sags and the plot fails to convince. Just why do Seb and Mia break up? A temporary separation doesnt have to destroy a relationship. Then there is the counterfactual ending. What is it supposed to mean? That they should have stayed together? When they could have, but didnt and appeared content with the alternative paths they had chosen?