Best Cast has become one of the most divisive categories at The Calvins each year. We aren't definitive about the criteria for voting selection, leaving it up to the individual voters. Many base their opinions on the quality of the performances, while a few evaluate the level of star power involved.
2020 Calvin Awards: Best Cast
By David Mumpower
February 12, 2020
What happens when we don’t set the rules? Well, a few people voted our Worst Picture winner for Best Cast…at the same time. Yes, they picked the same title as the worst release of the year while acknowledging that it featured one of the finest acting collectives in recent memory.
Now, that title didn’t earn a spot on our Best Cast list, but the thought process demonstrates how ambiguous we are with the criteria. It’s up to each voter to decide which matters more between performances and star power. As you’re about to learn, the former proved more popular than the latter.
In a tight battle that came down to the last vote, Parasite has earned the title of Best Cast for the year. For a while now, we’ve known our voters deemed two films vastly superior to the rest. Both titles appeared on the overwhelming majority of ballots and dominated first-place votes.
Ultimately, BOP favored the performances in Parasite over the more recognizable faces from the other movie. If you’re watched Parasite, you understand why. NINE different members of this cast received votes in the Best/Supporting Actor/Actress categories, exemplifying the remarkable depth of the film.
Ostensibly, the movie is about a dutiful son who earns a job he doesn't deserve in a wealthy couple's home. In execution, Parasite explores the conceit that a family of con artists will feast off the goodwill of well-natured strangers. And this idea expands the cast to the entire family plus a pair of similarly deceptive people that you’d never expect.
Every character in Parasite serves a purpose, and each South Korean actor nails the role. As such, Parasite is our choice for Best Cast. But it was close…
Knives Out fell a paltry three points short of winning the category. Along the way, this murder mystery earned the largest total of first-place votes. Unfortunately, it lacked the cross-ballot support of Parasite. The two films placed in the top five on more than 80 percent of ballots, with several voters selecting them #1/#2.
Our staff admired Knives Out for its twisted sense of humor, and the performers clearly relished in playing various awful people. Daniel Craig has already confirmed that his character will return for a sequel. While we're sure that this story will display a similar sense of humor, we will miss some of the characters from Knives Out who can't return.
BOP has always respected Quentin Tarantino’s ability to persuade A-list celebrities to star in his movies. He’d previously worked movie magic with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, and this time the duo joined forces for another madcap adventure. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, our third choice for Best Cast, undeniably stars two of the most famous actors in the world, but even an eight-year-old girl delivers a standout performance.
The other choices for our top five are a bunch of Little Women and superheroes. Our staff adored the charm of the March sisters as played by Emma Watson et al. In fact, as you'll notice in our other categories, we were especially fond of one less-heralded performer who had a terrific 2020. As for the other choice, Avengers: Endgame is a who's who in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with recognizable actors flying in and out of every season.
The sixth and seventh selections couldn’t vary any more dramatically in terms of recognizable names. The Irishman returns Martin Scorsese to his roots, as the director brings back some of the award-winning performers from his mob movies to provide this coda to his life’s work.
Conversely, The Farewell stars only two recognizable faces, Tzi Ma and Awkwafina. The film even co-stars an amateur actress who is actually a participant in the real story. The virtual unknowns gel in a haunting evaluation of the ethics of illness.
At the bottom of our nominations, four films separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Alas, we could only laud three of them. Eighth place goes to Marriage Story, a deftly acted film anchored by Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, and Alan Alda.
Ninth goes to Us, which primarily focuses on four adult actors, including Winston Duke. Still, the main lead is Lupita Nyong'o. Finally, we loved the Deadwood reunion featuring Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Paula Malcomson, and longtime BOP fave Timothy Olyphant.
The film that missed nomination by a single point was The Two Popes, but BOP will make it up to the film in other categories. We also loved the casts of Bombshell, Ford vs. Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Hustlers, Booksmart, 1917, Jumanji: The Next Level, Zombieland: Double Tap, and John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.
2020 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music