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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The 2014 RyMickey Awards - Best Ensemble

This is slowly becoming one of my favorite categories every year.  While the Screen Actors Guild awards a Best Ensemble every year, they have a tendency to just choose Best Picture contenders.  Here on the blog, we don't cling to the notion that only Best Picture flicks contain the highest quality acting.

Best Ensembles of 2014
(SoN = Streaming on Netflix / SoA = Streaming on Amazon)

Honorable Mentions
#10 - The Judge
Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meister, and Clint Howard

#9 - The Good Lie
Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jay, Kuoth Weil, and Corey Stoll

#8 - The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear, Alex Lawther, and Mark Strong

#7 - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, and Tom Wilkinson

#6 - Foxcatcher
Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, and Vanessa Redgrave

And the Top Five Are...

#5 - The Grand Seduction (SoN)
Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban, Mark Critch, Peter Keleghan, Mary Walsh, Margaret Killingbeck, Cathy Jones, and Matt Watts
Never would I have thought Taylor Kitsch would be in a movie that would land on my awards lists, but The Grand Seduction proved me wrong, showing that Kitsch is perfectly capable of carrying a film with elements of both drama and comedy.  However, this isn't the Taylor Kitsch Show nor is it the Brendan Gleeson Show.  Instead, The Grand Seduction works because of all those other names listed up there that you've probably never heard of before.  Together, they create an amusing group of townsfolk who somehow make this rather outrageously unbelievable premise completely convincing.

#4 - This Is Where I Leave You
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Corey Stall, Connie Britton, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Debra Monk, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, and Abigail Spencer
Here's a case where a cast elevates a script beyond what it probably deserves.  There are certainly problems with This Is Where I Leave You, but not one of those problems can be attributed to the ensemble who gamely tackle the family dynamics on display in this film.  With humor and heart, the actors and actresses are what make this film worth watching which is inherently at the center of why I present this award every year.

#3 - Snowpiercer (SoN)
Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer, Ah-sung Ko, and Alison Pill 
I never knew that Chris Evans had this kind of role in him, but his performance in Snowpiercer has opened my eyes on the actor.  However, this isn't a solo award and he's certainly not the only person who stands out here.  The tight spaces of Snowpiercer add a claustrophobic sense to the proceedings that oddly bring us "closer" to the actors who not only have to maneuver around the set, but also navigate the wide array of comedic, dramatic, and action-packed moments that make up the film.

#2 - Gone Girl
Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Lisa Banes, David Clennon, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward, and Casey Wilson
There's not a bad egg in the bunch in Gone Girl -- a film that you will certainly see popping up on several more lists as the RyMickey Awards continue onward.  The seriousness of what's onscreen weighs heavy on all the characters and the ensemble keeps us riveted throughout the flick's rather long running time.  While the two leads -- Affleck and Pike -- are the "stars" of the show, the supporting cast must carefully walk a line between doubt and trust with their allegiances shifting sides often throughout -- an unenviable task that they all take on with gusto.

Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Tracey Ullman, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, and Johnny Depp
I may have overrated this flick in general -- a second viewing will be necessary to confirm this -- but it's tough not to try and be a little nicer to movie musicals since good ones are so few and far between. (Just look at this year's Worst Films as proof.)  However, if I did overrate it, it's because of this cast chosen not only because they fit the roles they're playing, but because they can also sing the tricky Stephen Sondheim tunes doled out to them.  This film is deeper than it looks on the surface and the cast is tasked with taking on essentially two very different flicks when the flick shifts tone quite dramatically in the second half.  This is a wonderful ensemble in which genuinely no one outshines another which feels like the very definition of this award.

Previous RyMickey Award Winners
2013    --    2012
2011    --    2010

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