The Fifties for 2012: Best Ensemble Cast
Best Ensemble Cast
Damsels in Distress, for selling that tricky Whit Stillman argot with bouncier comic élan than any of their predecessors, while keeping their hold on characters;
Friends with Kids, for capitalizing on the troupe's real-life bonds while switching up pair-offs and personas, gaining focus whenever most people are on screen;
Magic Mike, for making the Xquisite squad a memorable gaggle, involving the women in deceptively subtle ways, and nailing the lost art of directing extras;
The Snowtown Murders, for hiring the right pros, semi-pros, and amateurs to make this world believable, finely etched in crowded group shots and in quick inserts; and
Wanderlust, for such lively comic badminton among the whole commune, the horrid suburbans, the HBO higher-ups, and the newscasters, with barely a script.
Honorable mentions begin on serious notes with In the Family's plausible township of friends, antagonists, and (somewhere in the middle) relatives, and with Oslo, August 31st's kaleidoscope of old pals, nervous onlookers, irritated reacquaintances, and strangers from the blue. The actors in 21 Jump Street find laughs in every direction, though the script helps them out more than Wanderlust's does. Killer Joe might be full-on noxious without a charismatic cast keeping it so earnest, funny, and compelling, give or take Hirsch's wild turn. In the wing of prestige imports, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and A Simple Life never run out of articulate faces and agile performers, affording us broader and broader exposure to their pained communities-in-miniature, though you could say the same about the stranded band of men in that red-meat multiplex pic The Grey.