We're still more than four months away from the Oscar nominations announcement -- not to mention more than three months away from the end of 2016 -- but that hasn't stopped prognosticators from predicting which flicks will make the cut when the Academy reads off its list of Best Picture nominees on January 24. And while for most of the year, awards show pundits have considered historical drama "Birth of a Nation" a lock for Oscar's top prize, the recent debut of dreamy musical "La La Land" at the Venice Film Festival -- and the accompanying glowing reviews -- seems to have crowned a new Oscar favorite.

The flick, written and directed by "Whiplash's" Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, captured audiences' attentions -- and hearts -- when it debuted its first two gorgeous, swoon-worthy teaser trailers earlier this summer. But what would critics make of the unusual, Hollywood-set throwback musical?

Based on the reviews coming out of Venice, it seems that critics are just as smitten by the charming flick. A roundup from Mashable quotes publications like The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and The Guardian, which all praise the film (though note it's not entirely perfect), citing its optimism, unique staging and cinematography, and the chemistry of its leads.

The biggest rave came from Deadline, which called the movie "a gorgeous romantic fever dream of a musical that should hit contemporary audiences right in their sweet spot," and notes that "this is a movie worth savoring, something that entertains, enlightens and makes us feel good about being alive." If that doesn't screen Future Oscar Nominee, nothing does.

As noted above, we're still a long ways off from knowing who are true Oscar nominees will be, and with plenty of potential critical darlings waiting in the wings, the race could look quite different from January. Stay tuned until then.

"La La Land" opens on December 2.

[via: Mashable]

'La La Land' (2016) Trailer 2