From the beginning of awards season, “La La Land” has been the movie that most people pinpoint as the best picture of the year. Due to the fact that it recaptures the age of the Hollywood musical so well yet also adds its own spin to it, the movie has been praised by just about everyone. However, another movie which is its complete antithesis, Moonlight has started to generate just as much - if not more, buzz then the musical. Due to its grittiness and picture perfect storytelling, this film captures the journey of adulthood in such a profound way.

“Moonlight” has all of the elements that the Academy looks for

When looking through the types of films that normally win the Academy Award for best picture, there are certain reoccurring themes that usually stick out. The movies are normally dramatic, feature some kind of family drama, have some kind of inspirational message or are set in glossy, large-scale epic productions. “Moonlight” has two of three which makes it a strong contender. The film is also well acted and has two nominations in the acting categories. Acting nominations normally help in the best picture. However, “La La Land” is both grandiose yet intimate in its scale and also features two acting nominations in the lead categories.

The taste of the Academy voters is hard to gauge because on any given year, the Academy could choose to side with the general or be different and vote for the underdog. I am by no means comparing “Moonlight” to “Crash” but if that movie could win best picture then anything is possible.

There are universal aspects to this film that “La Land Land” lacks

Although the film centers on a young black man and the majority of the Academy cannot relate to that type of experience, this film tackles the very real and sometimes traumatic nature of growing up. This film speaks to the times of loneliness and sorrow which we all feel at some point in our lives.

Those types of feelings and emotions do not have a color. “La La Land” is more of an escapist film but it does not ground itself in reality because a musical is not supposed to do that. There are some people in the Academy that love the idea of escaping into a world that is not like the one we live in, where everything is pretty and random music plays all day long. However, there is a large majority of people in the Academy that will appreciate the way in which Barry Jenkins captures those feelings of vulnerability and makes us examine our own life decisions.