Yesterday morning there was an Academy member screening of Damian Chazelle‘s La La Land, and then a buffet luncheon at Craig’s on Melrose. A few hours later producer Jonathan Dana wrote on Facebook that he felt “fortunate to experience La La Land, one of the leading contenders for Oscar in about a dozen categories. When you see talent like this at play, it’s hard to stay totally bummed, at least until you pass a TV tuned to any sort of news. Go see this movie. Soon. It will enliven your spirits.

“And the filmmakers are the nicest people. And Emma Stone? Beautiful, smart, engaged and endearing. Lunch was great too. Lucky me.”

Jonathan Dana, La La Land star Emma Stone during yesterday’s luncheon at Craig’s on Melrose.

Nobody is a bigger fan of La La Land than myself, and while I’ve never chatted with Stone Dana is 100% correct in describing Chazelle as an entirely likable guy. I know Chazelle very slightly and can say he skillfully hides the fact that, like all accomplished artists, he’s a bit of a fretter and a worry wart. But also a straight shooter. Chazelle looks you in the eye and seems to actually mean what he says, which is unusual in Hollywood circles. But to Hollywood Elsewhere the word “nice” is like chalk on a blackboard.

Wells to Dana: “Sorry I missed the luncheon. One question, Jonathan: The La La Land guys are ‘the nicest,’ you say. Good to hear. We should all strive to be nice every day of our lives and twice on Sundays. But what else are they gonna be at an Oscar-season luncheon? Snippy? Snide? Sullen? Saying they were ‘the nicest’ is like saying the snowfall that fell last night in Moscow is ‘the whitest.'”

11.7.14 “nice” rant: “During last night’s A Most Violent Year after-party a friend was telling one of the producers that director J.C. Chandor is ‘so nice!’ Right away I rolled my eyes. I understand the need to flatter and gladhand, but people have to come up with something besides ‘nice’ when they want to show obeisance before power. I guess what my friend meant is that J.C. is extra nice as opposed to run-of-the-mill, no-big-deal nice. Except there isn’t a person in this town who doesn’t wear a pleasant, easy-vibe ‘nice’ face in a professional or social situation.

“Saying that a person is nice is like saying it’s good that they have both feet or that they have ears on both sides of their head. This town could die of people with ‘nice’ personalities. Regular nice. Effusive nice. Elbow-nudge nice. Extra double-strength gushy nice. Nicey-nice. Quietly nice. Triple somersault nice. Smooth nice. Nice with a double shot of espresso. “So” nice. Inherent nice. Silly playful nice. Perfunctory nice. Sincerely nice.

“I agree about Mr. Chandor. He’s a good-natured, real-deal alpha guy with a kindly core. And he’s fairly modest to boot. But whenever I hear anyone is ‘so nice!’, something inside me deflates.”