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Entries in Best Ensemble (41)

Saturday
Dec102016

Who Deserves Ensemble Nominations at SAG?

by Nathaniel R

Ballots for the Screen Actors Guild nominations are due tomorrow. Their most crucial category is Outstanding Ensemble. People liken it constantly to Best Picture and while it's not supposed to be that, they do sometimes vote that way. Given the way SAG voting works with a new nominating committee randomly drawn each year from among the many many thousands of SAG members, nothing is ever truly safe. Sometimes their nominations are surprising but cool (remember Hustle & Flow or The Station Agent's ensemble nods?), other times they feel like lazy Best Picture predictions. And then there are the years when they appear to have voted in early Fall before anyone saw movies and any buzz started to solidify. It's tough to know what kind of year we'll have... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb172016

Interview: Josh Singer on pushing deep with Spotlight's Screenplay and his time on The West Wing

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer at the Gothams. It would not be the last award for their SPOTLIGHT screenplayAs we head toward Oscar night in an unusually complicated Oscar race, Spotlight is one of the films that's still in the thick of it. And with good reason. This finely tuned gripping account of the Boston Globe's long investigation into sex-abuse coverups was, by any measure, one of the most acclaimed films of the year.

The director Tom McCarthy is a flexible talent -- he acts, writes, and directs -- so it was something of a surprise that he shared writing duties on Spotlight with Josh Singer (The West Wing, The Fifth Estate). But that's somehow perfect since the film places such beautiful emphasis on community and teamwork. And when I began to speak with Singer about his involvement this communal spirit was also obvious. He immediately began deferring praise to the actors, and Tom's gift with them, and was so pleased that they'd been honored already this awards season. 

Here's our interview, edited for length and clarity...

NATHANIEL R: Spotlight is unusual in that the lead character is really the investigation itself

JOSH SINGER: It’s really an ensemble piece. Tom wanted this to be about the Spotlight team. It made me nervous early on, not having one or two protagonists. We have six!

NATHANIEL: Tom McCarthy doesn’t usually collaborate on his screenplays. So tell me what happened there.

 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan312016

Personal Ballot: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough

Ready to start pouring over Nathaniel's annual Film Bitch Awards? The time is now. As longtime readers probably have gleaned, in my secret alternate fantasy life I became a casting director. It's one of the three jobs in movies I always thought I'd be terrific at (the others being editing and screenwriting). This is not bragging. It's fan-fic journaling. All cinephiles are allowed, indeed encouraged (at least here), to harbor such 'in another life' fantasies! The natural pull of casting is probably what keys up the interesting in SAG's Ensemble category so much even though they don't ever seem to absorb the meaning of the word but just pick five pictures they liked. 

Now that SAG has had their say, here are the Film Bitch Nominees in the casting friendly categories:  Casting, Ensemble, and Breakthrough Performers. You'll see major shout outs to Sicario and Brooklyn in particular, both the casts and their casting directors (Francine Maisler and Fiona Weir, respectively). It's still mortifying that they were looked over in terms of communal acting whenever ensemble prizes were handed out anywhere. Diary of a Teenage Girl, which we probably haven't talked about enough, is also honored twice over. 

And a note to remember as you read them: If a performer is nominated in one of our regular Oscar-adjacent acting categories they are not eligible for Breakthrough (so no double dipping) which is why you don't see Jacob Tremblay from Room for example since he was already nominated in Leading Actor

Friday
Jan292016

SAG Predictions - Let's Make 'em

The Screen Actors Guild Nominations will be held tomorrow at 5 PM PST and broadcast live on TNT and TBS and we'll probably live blog as we do. Who will the 100,000+ actors vote for? Voting ended earlier today at Noon so there's a quick turnaround between voting and the actual prize. So let's jump right in because yours truly is feeling daring. And don't make fun of me should I biff on ALL of these because I've never claimed to be any good at predicting anything other than Oscar.

ENSEMBLE - This is always the best category in theory and the least satisfying in practice (for many reasons). But who will win? With Spotlight and The Big Short battling it out for the Oscar's Best Picture prize they're obviously the safe money bets and I kind of want to go out on a limb with a no guts no glory call and suggest that Straight Outta Compton rides the constant tidal wave of the #OscarsSoWhite discussion for a surprise win and yet more editorials. So that's my alternate pick. I'm going to go with SPOTLIGHT in a tight finish with both Compton and The Big Short. But here's why I'm leaning this way: It's easy to picture it winning this even it loses the Oscar. I can't same the same thing in reverse for The Big Short. If the Big Short wins this it's all over and The Big Short is the locked Best Picture winner. 

BEST ACTRESS -BRIE LARSON
BEST ACTOR - LEONARDO DICAPRIO
No sense debating these two as they're wholly locked up for Oscar wins at this point, no matter who they're battling it out with on the ballot. 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS - As a reminder Oscar nominees Mara, Vikander, McAdams, and Winslet are competing with the non-Oscar nominated Helen Mirren (Trumbo) for this prize. This is a tough cal since literally none of the films are real "hits" and you could make an argument for anyone really. While the Oscar's voting body, which is heavily older and male, seems likely to pick Vikander, the new "it girl" for the gold on February 28th, SAG might feel differently. Might Winslet repeat her Globe win? My guess: KATE WINSLET (in a close race all around with Vikander or even McAdams right behind.)

SUPPORTING ACTOR - With current Oscar frontrunner Sylvester Stallone out of the contest this should be interesting. Stallone's dominance has made Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) look like an also ran so maybe the heat for the former thought-to-be frontrunner will have dissipated? Wouldn't it be crazy to see both Room actors pick up trophies and have little Jacob Tremblay win? My guess is a surprise win for IDRIS ELBA -- since they loved Beasts of No Nation (consider that absolutely bizarre "Ensemble" nomination for a film with only 3 really substantial roles) with Rylance as alternate. 

What are your predictions? Will you be watching? 

Thursday
Jan072016

What's Next for the Spotlight Cast?

Manuel here talking about the Spotlight cast. If the SAG voting crowd can see beyond their cooky nominations, they might yet crown a handsome roster of winners. That’s what we hope happens, at least in the Best Ensemble category which, besides being quite testosterone heavy, doesn’t really feel reflective of the “best” of ensemble work that we saw this past year. Should the Tom McCarthy cast prevail though, we’ll at least know the Actors went to the right film and its talented cast.

But what are the actors behind the Boston Globe reporters up to next? Let's find out after the jump...

Click to read more ...