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Entries in Best Ensemble (45)

Friday
Jan202017

In Praise of SAG's "Fences" Ensemble Nomination...

by Brian Zitzelman

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As Viola Davis marches towards Oscar #1 and Denzel Washington to nomination #7 for Fences, let us not forget the other wonderful players in the film. Garnering a SAG nomination for Outstanding Ensemble, Fences is a small, but rich cast... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec292016

Co-Star Chemistry, The "Make or Break" Secret Ingredient

Year in Review. Each day another different angled wrap-up.

Last year during our year in review roundup we did our first list of "best co-star chemistry" and it was such a fun way to pinpoint the intangible and often uncategorizable spark that ignites greatness in movies that we're doing it again. Want to capture lightning in a bottle in your movie? Hire the right casting director who will pair the right actors together. No special effect, setpiece, or plot twist can or will ever rival the amount of movie-long electricity that can be generated when actors are really sparking off each other and nailing whatever the roles their characters play in each other's lives simultaneously.

The list is presented without much commentary... unless we couldn't escape it. Chime in in the comments, won't you?

16 Chris Pine & Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (Brothers)

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Wednesday
Dec142016

SAG Ensemble - Everyone Was Nominated.... Except *You*

by Nathaniel R

Alex R Hibbert's omission from the nominated cast of Moonlight is one of the worst yet from SAG

For several years now we've highlighted a major problem with the Screen Actors Guild Awards that we hope their union will eventually address. The rule is that to be included in the Ensemble nomination you have to have your own title card (or share the first title card if the whole principle cast is listed on the same card as in Woody Allen movies). But the prize is meant to honor the whole cast and sometimes a less famous person can deliver in a big way in which the movie wouldn't be the same without. My fascination/aggravation with this rule and its collateral damage goes all the way back to The Avatior (2004) when I realized that Matt Ross (an actor who is now a director - see Captain Fantastic) was not included though he is terrifc in the movie and in a ton of scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio while Gwen Stefani, a very famous woman with only a cameo, was included. 

So let's look at each ensemble nomination this year and figure out who has fallen victim to this aggravating rule after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec142016

SAG Nomination Surprises: Emily Blunt, Captain Fantastic, and More

As we've noted several times in the past, SAG nominations are often among the most surprising for two reasons. First, the nominating committee changes each year, drawn randomly from the Screen Actor's Guild enormous body of dues paying members. Second, because the members are randomly selected and (presumably) spread out more geographically than the easier to target Academy and Globe members, their nominations can often feel like they were voted on earlier and that's the case this year with more summer films nominated than other awards bodies went with. 

The nominees with commentary are after the jump...

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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