Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Awards-Nazi Award nominations: Acting Ensemble

Oh boy, where to begin. So many of this year's best movies owe much to the work done by their casts; transcending the sum of all the individual performances to become something more holistically powerful than any one actor could ever be (Even though those individual performances were indeed great). Check out the five best Acting Ensembles of the year, as far as I'm concerned, after the cut.

American Hustle
(Bale, Adams, Cooper, Lawrence, Renner, C.K., Huston, De Niro, et. al.)
Though its script is rough around the edges, it acts more as a platform for detonating dynamic character interactions, and Russell's cast runs wild on it, relishing the camera, chewing the scenery, and strutting to the rhythms of a sizzling 70's soundtrack. Highly entertaining.

Blue Jasmine
(Blanchett, Hawkins, Baldwin, Clay, Cannavale, C.K., Sarsgaard, Stuhlbarg, et. al.)
Starry ensembles are usually among the main draws for any Woody Allen feature, and this one does not disappoint. True, Blanchett's tour-de-force is at the centre of it all, but the supporting cast is needed to create a moral point of reference against which we can compare Jasmine's actions.

Prisoners
(Jackman, Gyllenhaal, Davis, Bello, Howard, Leo, Danno, Minnette, Borde, et. al.)
Though based on fairly run-of-the-mill thriller shlock, the calibre of the acting here elevates the material enough to merit awards consideration. Every character faces moral dilemmas, and every one of them gets to let their internal battles reveal themselves in minimalist but unmistakable performances.

Short Term 12
(Larson, Gallagher Jr., Dever, Stanfield, Beatriz, Malek, Calloway, Hernandez, et. al.)
Cretton's precise character writing wouldn't be worth its own ink without strong actors to interpret it, and this movie is blessed with an abundance of them. Every role, big and small, is beautifully played by a terrific young cast, built organically around Brie Larson's quiet revelation at its centre.

This Is the End
(Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Hill, Robinson, McBride, Watson, Cera, et. al.)
This crackling ensemble produces laughs so effortlessly, it's easy to overlook how subversive the satire is. Each one of them is essentially parodying their own celebrity perception in hilarious fashion, and their interactions with each other positively explode with comic energy.

Just missed:
12 Years a Slave
(Ejiofor, Nyong'o, Fassbender, Paulson, Oduye, Giamatti, Cumberbatch, Dano, Woodard, et. al.)
The Hunt
(Mikkelesen, Larsen, Wedderkopp, Fogelstrom, Wold, Hassing, Ranthe, Rapaport, et. al.)
Inside Llewyn Davis
(Isaac, Mulligan, Timberlake, Phillips, Bartlett, Grayson, Serralles, Driver, Sands, Goodman, Hedlund, Abraham, et. al.)
Out of the Furnace
(Bale, Affleck, Harrelson, Saldana, Shepard, Bower, Dafoe, Wolfe, Whitaker, et. al.)
The Place Beyond the Pines
(Gosling, Mendes, Cooper, Ali, Mendelsohn, Byrne, Greenwood, Liotta, Cohen, DeHaan, et. al.)

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