Ensemble Casts on the Path to Best Picture

Will actors eventually be selected out of their central role in movies, increasing replaced by animation,  performance capture, and other evolving forms of digital characters?  That irrational fear has been drifting in and out of Oscar conversations for years. Just as the pleasure of reading books has endured while movies became the world’s foremost storyteller, films driven by great performances remain as popular now as they’ve ever been.  In the end, no technology can ever replace what gifted actors are able to do. This year, a handful of film ensembles remind us of the irreplaceable power of performances.

Two essential forces often compete to dictate the Best Picture race — the director and the ensemble cast. The Screen Actors Guild’s ensemble award has come to mean much more than just a precursor for Best Picture. They have gone out of their way to define their ensemble prize in terms of their unique collaborative contribution — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.  Those of us who look to the SAG Awards to see what might win Best Picture must balance our regard for the acting branch as the largest block of voters who choose the top prize at the Oscars with our awareness that sometimes it really is all about the acting.  When a film wins Best Picture without an Oscar for its director — as was the case with Crash, Chicago, and Shakespeare in Love — the SAG ensemble prize is often an early indication that its strength is perceived to be the collective contribution of its cast more than a result of the director’s control.

It doesn’t always follow that the ensemble prize will result in a Best Picture win, but it can certainly help. Without a SAG nomination, Best Picture contenders have an uphill battle to win in the actor-dominated Academy. Without any acting nominations, it is nearly impossible to win Best Picture.  It can happen, but it’s rare.

The Departed, The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men were films driven more by their directors’ overarching vision than by their impeccable ensembles, although No Country for Old Men easily won both, exemplary of the kind of ensemble work that usually prevails in the Oscar race — big stars at the top of their game hitting it out of the park. I would argue that this went double for The Departed. Even though Little Miss Sunshine won the ensemble prize that year, it failed to win Best Picture — perhaps because its directors were not even nominated.

The SAG and Oscar voters are inclined to admire ensembles with a dynamic mix of seasoned veterans and fresh-faced up-and-comers, especially when everyone is firing in sync on all cylinders.  Films stacked with big stars delivering exceptional performances across the board are tailor-made for SAG ensemble, and primed for the Best Picture Oscar.

2012 is full of films that scratch that itch, which could make this year’s SAG ensemble competition more fierce than ever.  We’ve been treated to films that feature big stars and beloved acting icons, as well as movies that introduce notable actors new to the scene who aren’t as well known, delivering exceptional work nonetheless.

While almost every film — foreign or domestic, independent or big budget — is technically an ensemble, and almost every film could qualify for the ensemble category, this year offers several standouts that rise above the rest.

Like a great jazz band, a vibrant film ensemble provides each player a memorable showcase. As with an extended drum riff, when an actor has a chance to deliver a monologue or death scene or declaration of love, that’s the moment a singular performer gets to shine. Once it’s over, he retreats back into the ensemble to blend in harmony, making the film work as a whole. A well-trained actor will know not to steal center stage from the lead, just as the smallest player must have his character’s moves down pat, even if he has no lines. The young actors learn from the vets; the vets are reinvigorated by the newcomers.  That’s what it is like to belong to a great ensemble.

To that end, there are many memorable ensembles this year. They range from historical epics to thrillers, from coming-of-age to sci-fi and musicals. The genre matters less than the collaboration of actors. The network of association among actors, how many friends they each have in the SAG and in the Academy, will have inevitable effect on the outcome of voting.  A large ensemble obviously garners more supporters than a smaller cast simply by virtue of the sheer numerical links in these chains.

The top contender for the SAG ensemble prize is Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Never has Spielberg relied so heavily on actors before, which is probably why none of his previous films has ever won an acting Oscar. The man is beloved by hundreds upon hundreds who have worked with him. It is said that if you can just get fifteen minutes alone with Spielberg on set it can change the direction of your career. So it will be noted and applauded by the acting community that Spielberg has laid this brilliant film at their feet and  restrained his own directorial flourish, entrusting the actors to manifest the emotion instead. No less than the best in the business are showcased in Lincoln. They each hit it out of the park, starting with the film’s star, recently dubbed by TIME magazine the “World’s Greatest Actor.” Rising to the responsibility of playing Lincoln was no easy feat for Daniel Day-Lewis, who is already in possession of two Best Actor Oscars. If he wins a third he will have made Oscar history. Only a consummate actor is able to work so seamlessly within an ensemble as Day-Lewis does in this film, equally generous to lesser-known supporting players as he is to the famous faces. His quiet relationships with each character thread throughout Lincoln like a mesh of veins delivering oxygen to the heart and brain.

Watching Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones in the later stages of their careers  is a reminder of what great acting really is all about — their bold, confident choices radiant from years of experience.  Jones is having a particularly stunning year with his work in Hope Springs and now, as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln. Sally Field was mocked for many years after she won her second acting Oscar but the woman is a genius. She gained weight and gave up her easy charms for the part of the troubled Mary Lincoln since neither she nor Spielberg felt the need to sugar coat this portrayal of a very complex woman. It is easily one of the best performances of the year.

James Spader, David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, S. Epatha Merkerson and many many more hailing from the ranks of television, theater and film — the sheer number of actors in the film alone could push it into the super-ensemble category. Although the film isn’t as feel-goody as some of the other ensembles this year, the actors guild will be paying close attention to Lincoln. To many of the 100,000 voting members, this will be a textbook manifesto for defining the art of acting.

Second to Lincoln, or possibly advancing ahead, will be Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables, which is not only populated with a team of outstanding actors, it is also feeds a theater geek’s sweetest memories of the time — or many times — when they saw Les Miz on Broadway. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks and Russell Crowe — a dream cast all singing live, an actor’s ultimate challenge. Some great catastrophe will have to occur with Les Miz for it not to be one of the strongest ensembles heading into the SAG awards. Many observers think it will all come down to a battle of titans between Les Miz and Lincoln.

The third strong contender is Ben Affleck’s Argo. John Goodman and Alan Arkin are the two vets but there’s also Bryan Cranston and Affleck himself.  The movie is so lean it has no weak link and that flawlessness extends to the work from all the actors.  This troupe really gets the idea of what ensemble means.  The central emotionality of the film rests on Affleck’s shoulders and since he’s an actor with wise rein on his ego, he understand the value of balance.  His ability to provide a solid center of gravity for the rest of the cast to orbit is one of the many thing that gives Argo its spring-loaded clockwork intensity.

After Argo comes Silver Linings Playbook which works incredibly well as an ensemble piece.  It features several standout performances, topped by the trio of Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. As he does in all his films, David O. Russell relies on everyone, not just the stars. Some of the throwaway lines delivered by supporting characters are among the best moments in the film. Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker make the most of their limited screen time.  Russell is terrific with actors. Unlike other more controlling directors, he gives them freedom to really let loose and run with it.

The Master is a unique case.  Actors aren’t often handed roles like Paul Thomas Anderson writes, so most are unaccustomed to judging such esoteric work.  However, the extravagant opportunities The Master provides came together beautifully and it’s undeniably one of the best ensembles of the year. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams all delivering knockout performances it’s hard to imagine the Screen Actors Guild not recognizing their daring achievement.  Though I suspect the film is more likely to win acclaim in the individual categories more than it will in ensemble.

After that, the remaining top contenders for Best Ensemble will probably be Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and The Hobbit, but until we get a look at each of these it’s impossible to say for sure.  Nomination ballots will be mailed on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and voting closes on Monday, Dec. 10.  Everything is bearing down on us very quickly these next few weeks, so it’s difficult to know how circumstances will play out with the late entries.

Flight is one of the more cleverly assembled ensembles of the year, particularly in the fascinating diversity the casting. Robert Zemeckis and his team deliberately did something most filmmakers don’t: he cast people of color throughout the film. Why does this matter, you might ask? It matters because such a move, as simple as it may seem on the surface, is a break from the homogenized norm that’s not done nearly enough these days. Along with Denzel Washington’s best performance to date, or certainly high among them, the impressive ensemble includes Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Kelly Reilly, Brian Geraghty, and Bruce Greenwood. Flight is all about the acting that tumbles out of its pivotal effect sequence.

Beyond the major films, what other ensembles are there to watch for?

One unknown is Cloud Atlas, although it delivers much of what actors expect when choosing their ensemble prize. Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Ben Wishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving and of course, one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, Tom Hanks, all play multiple roles from under a wild range of makeup facades. This is an actor’s dream. It’s something done quite often on stage but rarely seen on film. The standouts here are Broadbent and the unknown Doona Bae. Although Bae doesn’t appear to have much of a shot at an individual acting nomination, she lights up Cloud Atlas with a beam that shines through the entire film, something not easily done when up against so many good actors with  distinctive roles to explore.  Cloud Atlas might represent a bridge across the chasm many actors fear between technological revolutions threatening to leave actors behind.  Blending tradition and innovation in grand fashion, here is a film that manages to walk both paths brilliantly.  But the mixed reviews and disappointing box office will likely hurt its chances.

Although the two leads in Moonrise Kingdom are relative unknowns, the supporting cast is a SAG voter’s dream team: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton. Moonrise Kingdom is one of Wes Anderson’s very best films, but it’s one that might fare a lot better if this were a weaker year for the Big Oscar Movies. Caught in the undertow of an incredibly strong year, this is one of the films I worry will be pushed aside to make way for the bigger ones destined to dominate.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a another wonderful old-school ensemble, headed up by the remarkable Judi Dench. It features some of the most respected vets in the business, like Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson. If ever there was a film tailor-made for the SAG ensemble, this one fits the bill. But will it have enough steam left by the end of the year? Will it be able to take its place alongside some of these other massive undertakings? It’s tough to say but definitely worth keeping in mind.

Don’t be surprised if Hitchcock turns up on the list for Best Ensemble as it features two of cinema most admired legends in bravura turns.  But while Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins loom large, it’s impossible to overlook the impressive work of Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, James D’Arcy (wonderful in Cloud Atlas), and Michael Stuhlbarg (also great in Lincoln).

Anna Karenina presents a richly drawn if somewhat opaque performance by Kiera Knightley at its center, and an abundance of greatness in supporting roles raises Joe Wright’s edgy update of the classic novel for consideration.

Arbitrage is by far one of the least-discussed ensemble films of the year, featuring what might be Richard Gere’s best performance to date, as well as fine turns from Susan Sarandon, Nate Parker, Brit Marling and Tim Roth. Of course, it’s such a strong year that relatively smaller films will have a tough time in this category.

2012 offers an embarrassment of riches with so many films competing for awards. In the end, to focus on the SAG ensemble, we are probably looking at something like:

Lincoln, 
Les Miserables, Argo, 
Silver Linings Playbook, 
Django Unchained vs. Zero Dark Thirty
.  Dark horse are Cloud Atlas, Moonrise Kingdom.

The chart

Year SAG Oscars
1995 Apollo 13 Apollo 13
Get Shorty Il Postino
How to Make an American Quilt Braveheart
Nixon Brave
Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility
1996 The Birdcage Jerry Maguire
The English Patient The English Patient
Marvin’s Room Secrets & Lies
Shine Babe
Sling Blade Fargo
1997 The Full Monty The Full Monty
Boogie Nights As Good as it Gets
Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting
L.A. Confidential L.A. Confidential
Titanic Titanic
1998 Shakespeare in Love Shakespeare in Love
Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella) Life is Beautiful
Little Voice Elisabeth
Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan
Waking Ned Devine The Thin Red Line
1999 American Beauty American Beauty
Being John Malkovich The Insider
The Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile The Green Mile
Magnolia The Sixth Sense
Year SAG Oscars
2000 Traffic Traffic
Almost Famous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Billy Elliot Billy Elliot
Chocolat Chocolat
Gladiator Gladiator
2001 Gosford Park Gosford Park
A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind
In the Bedroom In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge! Moulin Rouge!
2002 Chicago Chicago
Adaptation. The Pianist
The Hours The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Gangs of New York
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ROTK
In America Master and Commander
Mystic River Mystic River
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit
The Station Agent Lost in Translation
2004 Sideways Sideways
The Aviator The Aviator
Finding Neverland Finding Neverland
Hotel Rwanda
Million Dollar Baby Million Dollar Baby
Ray Ray
2005 Crash Crash
Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain
Capote Capote
Good Night, and Good Luck Good Night, and Good Luck
Hustle & Flow Munich
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine
Babel Babel
Bobby Letters from Iwo Jima
The Departed The Departed
Dreamgirls The Queen
2007 No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men
American Gangster Atonement
Hairspray Juno
Into the Wild Michael Clayton
3:10 to Yuma There Will Be Blood
2008 Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt The Reader
Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon
Milk Milk
2009 Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds
An Education An Education
The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker
Nine A Serious Man
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire Precious
Up in the Air
Up
The Blind Side
Avatar
District 9

2010s

Year SAG Oscars
2010 The King’s Speech The King’s Speech
Black Swan Black Swan
The Fighter The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right The Kids Are All Right
The Social Network The Social Network
127 Hours
Inception
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
2011 The Help The Help
The Artist The Artist
Bridesmaids Tree of Life
The Descendants The Descendants
Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris
Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close
War Horse
Hugo
Moneyball

37 Comments on this Post

  1. The Hobbit has to get in! 13 dwarves and many other good actors. I’m surprised TDKR isn’t being talked about for ensemble, its one of the best ensembles ever.

  2. Many outstanding – almost busting at the seams – casts this year, but if SAG wants to honor a showcase, they should look no further than Cloud Atlas: 13 actors playing 62 characters of varying degrees of importance, across genders, race and age. It won’t win, but deserves a nod.

  3. Moonrise Kingdom certainly deserves a place among the bigger splashier films. It’s solid cast of experienced actors and winsome teenagers is just darn good company for two hours of quirky, sweet fun.

    I’m still having a problem posting in Chrome. Safari works fine.

  4. Great summary, also I wouldn’t count out

    The Hobbit (Great cast + all 3 LOTR-films made the cut… and almost the whole LOTR-cast is back.)
    Quartet (5 beloved British veterans, although faces direct competition from ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.)
    The Dark Knight Rises (Bale, Hathaway, Oldman, Caine, Freeman, Cotillard, Lewitt, Hardy all in top form, so it’s painful to see this EXCELLENT cast not getting the buzz it deserves.)
    The Sessions (SAG tends to go for indie dramedies even if the cast in question isn’t big (The Descedants, The Kids Are All Right, An Education, Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways etc.)
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Very long shot, I know, still, it is always nice to see a YOUNG cast deliver, unfortunately that’s not what teenage-oriented films are famous for. Also, what an impressive, different follow-up performance from Ezra Miller after ‘We need to talk about Kevin’)

  5. Phantom,

    I was just looking at Sasha’s list and thinking it would be very difficult to choose 5, then you added 5 more to that list. The top 3 in your list have better chance than the last two in my opinion.
    What about Hyde on Hudson Park? It does have quite bunch of good actors, but I think so far, the reviews are not helping much!
    Then, what about Skyfall, the IT-movie of the week?

  6. All of my favorite films have great ensemble casts. So I wish every year that the Academy would have a Best Ensemble category, but it never happens. I look to SAG to fill that void, but as we all know they use it as their Best Picture award, since they don’t have one.

    The Best Ensembles this year for me (so far) are:

    CLOUD ATLAS
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    LAWLESS
    SAVAGES
    THE GREY
    TO ROME WITH LOVE
    THE AVENGERS
    MAGIC MIKE

    Now I’d have to be bonkers to think that even two of these are going to get any play. But if SAG Ensemble was really about the acting they would be.

    As for your choices, Sasha, I can’t go along with ARGO as an award worthy ensemble. It very well may win the award especially if SAG use it as Best Pic as usual. But I don’t think Arkin or Goodman had enough role to garner any awards and Affleck, I mean, come on. The rest of the cast are people who were in the right hair and makeup. No offense. They did their jobs but no one, imo, was showing any real acting chops.

    FLIGHT I can’t go along with because it was really a one man show. Yeah, it had supporting characters but it was really all Denzel all the time.

    MOONRISE KINGDOM, I didn’t like, but it’s definitely the type of film that should be in this category. My own opinion of the film had nothing to do with the acting, which was pretty great all around. No weak performances and they all gave a little extra.

    IMO, there is a difference between good acting from several people in the same film and great ensemble acting. It’s like the difference between a boy band singing where everyone gets a few lines, and a huge chorus. ARGO was like a boy band and FLIGHT had a great lead vocalist with a couple of background singers. CLOUD ATLAS had the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Boys Choir of Harlem, The Gay Men’s Chorus and Sha Na Na all rolled into one.

    MOONRISE KINGOM is probably Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band. XD

  7. “CLOUD ATLAS had the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Boys Choir of Harlem, The Gay Men’s Chorus and Sha Na Na all rolled into one.”

    Hallelujah, sister!

  8. Aragorn

    I thought about ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’, too, I agree, had it gotten better reviews, it could have been a player based on pedigree alone, but now it seems that even Bill Murray, who had been considered the early frontrunner sight unseen, won’t come close to the Oscar-game this year, let alone the cast.

    Skyfall is a great call, it has an impeccable cast, definitely worth considering, but I don’t think the SAG would go for an action film and as far as blockbusters go, The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises should be higher on their list, I think.

    P.S. I’m with steve50, on Cloud Atlas, it most certainly looks like the most challenged, dedicated cast of the year.

  9. Indeed, Quartet will be a contender here if it hits big.

  10. Paddy Mulholland

    Agreed, we just can’t overlook the story there : acting legend directing acting legends hoping for votes from actors. It is also a well-received crowdpleaser WITH Harvey Weinstein in their corner.

  11. Really has been a solid year for great casts: Argo, Moonrise Kingdom, TDKR, Flight, Cloud Atlas, The Master, Skyfall, Lincoln (special shoot out to the immortal Bruce (Whip that Smirk off your face) McGill as the great Edwin Stanton). With Les Miserables, Anna Karina, Django Unchained, and the Hobbit still to come, this promises to be one of the all time great years for acting ensembles.

  12. I love the Ensemble category, I think it’s important to honor the whole cast. I guess it wouldn’t work at the Oscars, because the BP winner would take it most of the times, even if it’s undeserved, like the Best Director category.

  13. K. Boiwen

    Skyfall has one of the best ensembles since, like, The Godfather. Seriously. Two Oscar winners. Two more multiple nominess. And then Daniel Craig.

  14. No mention of the Hunger Games ensemble (Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Amandla Stenberg (Q-Wallis who?) or The Avengers (Downey, Jackson, Ruffalo, Johansson, Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Evans, Smulders, Gregg)? I’d put those two films’ casts up against any art house production.

  15. As of now my dream list would include:

    CLOUD ATLAS
    The master
    Marigold Hotel
    Quartet
    Skyfall

  16. Looking back, on the ’09 SAGs, it still grates that the ensemble nomination that should’ve gone to Avatar went to freakin’ Nine instead. What a pile of BS that was.

  17. PaulH, Those two movies were likely not mentioned because they are not in the Best Picture race. This is an Oscar blog not a PaulH fanboy site.

  18. Moonrise Kingdom is definitely a dark horse. Cloud Atlas is more black sheep than dark horse.

    My dream list:

    – Argo
    – Lincoln
    – The Master
    – Silver Linings Playbook
    – Skyfall

    Reality check: Replace Skyfall with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or Flight.

  19. Knowing as many SAG members as I do and how they think, they look at their Best Ensemble Award and don’t take it literally. They feel that THAT is their Best Picture award and so vote accordingly.

    Which is why “The Help” winning last year was so surprising AND Viola Davis AND Octavia Spenser. And only Spenser repeated at the Oscars.

    So while they are AN indicator. They are not THEE indicator.

    But Spielberg does have never every single member of SAG IN “Lincoln” it’s true. 140 speaking parts.Unprecedented.

  20. In a better world:
    Sag Ensemble Nominees

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    The Hunger Games
    On the Road
    Django Unchained
    Skyfall

  21. Can you imagine The Birdcage winning today, let alone getting nominated? Fat chance.

    I think the fifth slot will go to Flight, only because I’m a cynic, but would love to see it go to Cloud Atlas. That would show SAG still has some balls. 3:10 to Yuma was only five years ago …

  22. Skyfall has one of the best ensembles since, like, The Godfather. Seriously. Two Oscar winners. Two more multiple nominees. And then Daniel Craig.

    You know how many Oscar winners THE DARK KNIGHT RISES has right? Plus big fat hairy loser Gary Oldman, and Whatshisname Hardy and Thigamajig Gordon-Levitt.

  23. Daniel B.

    I can’t believe that almost nobody talks about the Oscar chances of Cloud Atlas. It is a stunning film, a great achievement that deserves recognition!

  24. Kudos to Phantom and Ivan for mentioning The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I know its chances are slim to nill, but it’s the best film I’ve seen this year (haven’t seen Lincoln, Les Miz or Silver linings yet). It would be nice for these groups to think outside the box just now and then.

  25. Matt O'Callaghan

    Substitute Brave for Babe in ’95….News at 11

  26. Matt O'Callaghan

    Looking over the comparison chart, it mostly aligns with BP noms, but there are some random choices by SAG. An observation of the SAG winner is that most feature a true ensemble or one where the supp. Actor outshines the lead. So where does that leave us? Seems Lincoln doesn’t follow this trend.

    Winners under this scenario could be;
    Argo
    Django
    This is 40? (Bridesmaids last year)
    Dark Knight Rises
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Best Exotic Marigold & Quartet (sorry for lumping these two together, but…)
    Lawless
    Les Miz
    Cloud Atlas
    The Hobbit

    The rest…
    ZDT ( don’t know enough about it, but I would say its all Chastain)
    Lincoln obviously will be nominated
    SLP ditto
    Beast of the Southern Wild ( not beyond the realms of possibility)
    The Master should but not sure. Not ensembly
    The Sessions, no. Not as strong as The Master. Not ensembly
    Killing them Softly done and dusted unfortunately
    The Hunt, not a chance, but worthy
    Anna Karenina very very possible ( it won’t go away)

    Anyhoo, I’ve run out of puff…

  27. Too bad, Potter’s last movies didn’t make it in 2011 Best Picture list, it deserved it.

  28. @ Matt – An observation of the SAG winner is that most feature a true ensemble or one where the supp. Actor outshines the lead. So where does that leave us? Seems Lincoln doesn’t follow this trend.

    *****

    What do you mean?

  29. Sorry to keep pushing this one, but it seems like such an obvious choice… Go THE AVENGERS!

  30. Filipe Mourão

    As many other said, the absence of The Dark Knight Rises cast is sad. So many good actors together and their performances were far beyond what we usually see in this kind of film.

  31. Of what I have seen this year:

    Skyfall
    The Dark Knight
    The Avengers

    What I want for SAG:

    Lincoln
    Skyfall
    Silver Linings
    Les Miserable
    Argo

    What may happen for Oscar:
    Argo
    Lincoln
    The Hobbit
    The Dark Knight
    Skyfall
    The Master
    Silver Linings
    Les Miserable
    Zero Dark Thirty
    Life of Pie

  32. “Sorry to keep pushing this one, but it seems like such an obvious choice… Go THE AVENGERS!”

    It’s only the third-most popular film in U.S. history, inflation-adjusting be damned. #3 is nothing to scoff at. It belongs in the hunt in 12 Oscar categories (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Music, all techs).

  33. Matt O'Callaghan

    ^ if movie tickets suddenly went down to 50 cents this year you’d want it adjusted for inflation. You know, to suit your ring fencing of films that gave you a chubby and dismissing anything else…

    Of The Top Ten money makers of all time, 9 were BP nominees. The Avengers isn’t in the top ten, so it won’t hurt that statistic.

    Your constant push to nominate 1/2 blockbuster, 1/2 arthouse or whatever is completely ridiculous. The Academy, in my mind at least, almost always nominate mainstream films.

  34. Tero Heikkinen

    People need to travel the world a little to realise that films like The Artist or The Hurt Locker ARE mainstream. Most films don’t have a chance to make their own budget back even, in dollars we are talking about 1-5 million rather than 10-50. A film that costs 15M to make is a really expensive product and even Hollywood does not throw that kind of amount to just about anything.

  35. Tero Heikkinen

    “If movie tickets suddenly went down to 50 cents this year you’d want it adjusted for inflation.”

    This is why we count attendance and not money. For example, I know that Skyfall was seen by 316 823 people in less than two weeks in Finland, and that is some 7% of the whole country’s population – making it the most watched film of the year (beating TDKR and the likes in just 10 days or so).

    How many billion people have seen Gone with the Wind?

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