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Why ‘In the Heights’ Should Kick Off This Oscars Season

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Why ‘In the Heights’ Should Kick Off This Oscars Season

If the Oscars, in their prime, tell a story about the state of Hollywood and its art:Chicago relive the musical movie; The wounded locker setting a long-standing milestone for female filmmakers; this year’s winner Nomadic land embodying a difficult year of loneliness and reflection, then next year’s ceremony should be a celebration. Not many months ago, the industry was in dire straits, with cinemas closing and production ceasing around the world. While more than a degree of uncertainty remains, the temperature has since changed, just in time for summer. The country is opening up again; the box office comes to life. We are reconnecting with each other and joy is in the air.

Pay in In the heights. The next Oscar season, admittedly still a long way off, seems (for now at least) likely to reintroduce traditions put on hiatus last year: flashy festival premieres, gala lunches and dinners in Los Angeles, campaigns in intensified person. . For viewers, the difference between now and then is much simpler: we’re going to hit theaters again. The event’s potential blockbusters, ready for presentation after a year of delays caused by the pandemic, are the films that will define the year of Hollywood’s return, nothing better than Jon M. ChuIt is an immaculate, colorful and vibrant musical spectacle.

A June music release isn’t usually an award bait, but the rule book has been completely disrupted. In what promises to be another extended season, with awards set for March 27, In the heights provides the kind of irresistible cinematic experience that sticks to you, with enough heart and soul to go through with it. Such as Quentin Tarantinolos angeles love letter Once upon a time in Hollywood … endured long past its summer debut, Chu’s journey of magnificent ode to New York street life should only begin with its general release.

The careful release of the film began in the winter of load year, through early screenings before its expected release in the summer of 2020. Since then, press and industry figures have tested the film for many months, via COVID-safe in-person screenings and links. Then came a short run on the festival circuit, culminating in Wednesday night’s lush screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, the first American festival to recapture the on-the-ground experience in any meaningful way. With the cast and crew in attendance, the United Palace’s restored yellow carpet area was designed like a Washington Heights block, lined with worn brick walls and cans of Café Bustelo espresso coffee. As the opening titles flashed on the screen, the star Anthony Ramos he stood up and clenched his fist; the audience erupted in applause after each musical number, Broadway-style. The movie had done it.

A much wider audience will now be able to see that the movie is in theaters and airing on HBO Max (as part of Warner Bros. ‘day-and-date experiment for their 2021 roster). The first thing that should stand out is Ramos’ star spin. Assuming the role originated by the musical creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the actor emerges as a revealing protagonist, who completely owns the story with a performance that is at once gleefully alive, wildly honest, and technically demanding. (Those moves! Those pipes!) Best known for his support turns on Miranda Hamilton other Bradley Cooper‘s A star has been born, He also has a rich character to inhabit, key in the race for the Oscar gold: Usnavi de la Vega, owner of a winery in Washington Heights who dreams big. Usnavi is the type of protagonist with wide eyes and an open heart that you can’t help but fall in love with.

In the heights also marks an improvement for director Chu (Crazy Rich Asians). His musical pieces strike the difficult balance of seamless integration into the story and the sensory indulgence we expect from a sing-and-dance blockbuster. Bringing life to every corner of the movie’s neighborhoods, from the huge public swimming pool that is the setting for the spectacular “96,000” to Ramos’s freckled face, gleaming in the sun as he wanders from block to block. Chu delivers the quality of direction that you expect, and rarely see, in a musical of this scale. (And we can only hope that voters pay attention to Olga Merediz, who triumphantly retakes her stage role as matriarch Grandmother Claudia, in the same way they did for Minari‘s Yuh-jung youn at the beginning of this year.)

The season remains in its early stages. A rare mid-summer Cannes will feature several potential contenders, including Wes anderson‘s The French office next month; expect new titles from the award pillars, including Jane Campion, Joel Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Adam McKay, other Guillermo del Toro to take oxygen later. Who knows what else festivals like Telluride and Toronto might introduce? And oh there’s another anticipated musical on the horizon in Steven Spielbergit’s updated West Side StoryIt is sure to feature in this conversation as well. In the heights will have to be remembered in the midst of that noise.

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