BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE
My nominees are posted. The reasons you'll always hear me complaining about SAG's choices in this category is because I think they're not paying attention to what an "ensemble" means (or maybe, more generously, they just don't have the same criteria as I do) To me "best ensemble" does not conjure up big casts with one scene stealing standout or simply big casts. To me examples of superior ensembles would be groups of actors who are tonally in balance with each other (everyone feels like they're in the same movie) and groups that use their internal chemistry in the scene work to elevate the movie.
This is one of the reasons I've always been a Robert Altman nut. He actually lets you see more than one performance at once. Most filmmakers cut so often to back and forth reaction shots that you miss the chance to see actors create the character dynamics in tandem. To me that's a shame.
In semi related news...
I had been planning on a post detailing my thoughts on The Dead Girl but it's obviously never going to see the light of day so an "ensemble" discussion is as good a place as any to talk about it: You'll notice that it's not in my nominee lineup. I know some people were plenty fond of its cast and I'll happily agree that three of them work wonders. I'm talking about the always wonderful/beautiful/awesome Kerry Washington, ISA Nominee Mary Beth Hurt and (surprise) Rose Byrne. But it's not much of a cohesive ensemble -- it's more like solo pieces strung together. And the unimaginative casting made me wince more than once. Toni Collette as an ugly unloved girl again? Brittany Murphy as a wildchild. Marcia Gay Harden as an uptight woman. And, worst of all, Piper Laurie all but reprises her Carrie role (only without the advantage of that hilarious final monologue)
He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it!I could babble about these actresses for hours, but I'll