Sunday, February 3, 2013

Best Ensemble

The Oscar nominations are here, I will blog about them in time, (possibly live blog the actual ceremony?) - the only categories I nailed in my predix were best actress (sorry, Cotillard, I knew it) and best picture (minus my no guts, no glory pick for skyfall) - everything else was a bit of a clusterfuck as expected - SO happy to see Benh Zeitlin recognised though, so so so happy!

The Morgans: Best Ensemble:

Best Ensemble is NOT Best Picture - this is one of the most important things to remember - it is actually just best cast, as in the film could be only okay all up, but the cast were fantastic and gelled really well thus elevating a shit film or an excellent one. Basically the cast all deserve some sort of recognition rather than singling out one or two members, whilst the film itself, may or may not. This is where I fail to understand why there is no Academy Award for best cast. For example, Bridesmaids: The Academy didn't deem it worthy of a best picture nomination, okay, but it would have been in a shoo-in for a best cast nomination as the Screen Actors Guild noticed. (See also: This year, TBEMH making it in Best Ensemble at the SAG awards over Zero Dark Thirty/The Help winning it last year over The Artist) There is totally room for a Best Cast Oscar, please god, create one! A best picture nomination is deserved based on the sum of all its parts, a best cast nomination merely based on the sum of the ENTIRE (here is where SAG fails, but more on that another time) cast.

Moonrise Kingdom:


Thomas Gilman, Kara Hayward,
 Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton,
Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick & More
I can't even describe how perfectly Wes Anderson casts his films. When a director works with generally the same cast, again and again, they hone their particular schtick for that director to perfection and here their "wes-schtick" is in full force. New members of the cast, Kara Hayward and Thomas Gilman blend in perfectly along with the bunch of junior actors in the scout troop. From Tilda Swinton's appearance as Social Services (no name) to Bob Balaban's narrator playing their parts to perfection, you have a real ensemble. The adult big names take second stage to their pint sized leads and the film is all the better for it.

The Hunt:


Mads Mikklesen, Thomas Bo Larsen,
 Anika Wedderkopp, Alexandra Rapaport, Susse Wold,
Lars Ranthe, Anne Louise Hassing, Ole Dupont, Lasse Fogelstrom & More
Whether its the pervading tension of this film or just the performances, something about this entire cast works. From the little girl whose eyes give away so much, but her trembling lisp says otherwise, to the strained marriage between the brother and his wife right down to the bloody (literally) supermarket staff, the cast pick up on the mood of tension and each carries it internally, ramping up the emotions and highlighting the innocent life at stake. As for Mads, he's just divine. (Wait for Lead Actor)

Farewell, My Queen:

Lea Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie LeDoyen, 
Xavier Beauvois, Noemie Levovsky, Gregory Gadebois, 
Julie-Marie Parmentier, Francis Leplay, Vladmir Consigny, Michel Robin & More

Cleverly split into a trio of soulful actresses, this film is carried on their heaving bosoms, longing looks and languid touches, but it is on the periphery that the film is stitched together: from the tiny parts of the Queen's maid (watch her eyes), to Louis XVI to the servants in the hall, it is these small glimpses of Paris in the late 1700's  that make this film the thrilling glimpse into an alternate world of period drama so purely real.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:


Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith,
 Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Dev Patel,
 Penelope Wilton, Tena Desae, Diana Hardcastle, Lillette Dubey & More
This cast picked up a deserved, suprising nomination for best Ensemble at the SAG awards and many pundits were surprised. Why? With a cast like this, J Dench, Mags, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie & Ronald PickUp, it was practically assured and proves my point about the film being the sum of its parts, but this award being the sum of its cast. Without a cast like this, the film would be utter rubbish, and while its not, it would be nothing like what it is, if not for the performances of the veteran actors. They are such a beautiful site to see, well into their twilight years acting their hearts out. You go through every experience with them in India and they make you feel it, in a far deeper place within than the movie itself dares to go to.

Pitch Perfect:


Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, 
Hanna Mae Lee, Skylar Austin, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Adam DeVine, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elizabeth Banks, Freddie Stroma, John Higgins, John Hickey

The most surprising thing about the excellent Pitch Perfect is that the cast has far more depth than the expected stand out Rebel Wilson, highlighted in the trailers and the obvious talents of Anna Kendrick. Both Anna Camp and Brittany Snow steal scenes from Anna while Hanna Mae Lee as the Asian student who (SPOILER) ate her twin in the womb, threatens to steal the biggest laughs from Wilson. The whole cast, right down to the stoner singing group in the riff-off, pull together with a knowing sense of fun and elevate this run of the mill comedy into the explosive break out picture it was. Aca-awesome indeed.




The Cabin in the Woods may be the most divisive horror of the year but its cast play their stereotypes to perfection and Sigourney's cameo is the cherry on the top. Beasts of the Southern Wild has an entire cast of amateurs and first-timers and it shows, only in their sheer believability and the fierce determination every cast member exudes, reverbrating through my mind long after. I don't know if anyone knew where The Paperboy was going, but god did the cast have a good time getting there, sublime.

NEXT post = Best Director. I fully intended to join the two in this, but this takes me a long time! My goal is to have it all done by Oscar Night where I intend to liveblog and give out my own medals prior to the ceremony, BEAR WITH.

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