Saturday, January 23, 2010

Oscar Nazi Award nominations: Best Ensemble

This really should be a category at the Oscars. Your film may have a great individual performance from an actor, but what good is it without a strong cast for it to bounce off of? With the SAG Awards going live tonight, I figured now is as good a time as any to tell you the five Best Ensembles of the year (casting directors in parentheses):

An Education (Lucy Bevan)
The contrast between Jenny's home life, school life, and new-found social life is most vividly conveyed by the circle of people that surround her. All of them know what they need to bring to the table.

The Hurt Locker (Mark Bennett)Though small in size, this talent of this cast runs deep. Jeremy Renner's performance works so well because the performances of the men with whom he nearly always shares the screen are so focused and believable.

Precious (Billy Hopkins, Jessica Kelly)
A huge part of this film is the classroom dynamic and social world Precious becomes a part of after years of solidarity with her abusive mother. Student/teacher, student/student, daughter/mother interactions give the film its dramatic punch.

A Serious Man (Ellen Chenoweth, Rachel Tenner)
Michael Stuhlbarg is very much the centre of the film, but the sprawling ensemble that radiates outward from him is impeccably chosen. These terrific character actors all give finely tuned comic performances, each one with something profound behind it.

Star Trek (Alyssa Weisberg)
The reason this is one of the most enjoyable movies of the year is because its cast is so much fun to watch. Even non-Trekkies with virtually no prior knowledge of the characters (guilty) can appreciate the way these relatively unknown actors play off of each other with such perfect timing.

Just missed:
The Messenger, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds, Avatar.

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