2012 Calvin Awards: Best Cast

February 14, 2012

We are woman, hear us roar.

While Oscar is all about honoring individual performances, we at BOP tend to follow the lead of the Screen Actors Guild, bestowing attention on both the specific acting performances and the overall casts that come together to make a movie special. Past winners have included such eclectic choices as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return of the King, The Royal Tenenbaums, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Good Night, and Good Luck, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, The Dark Knight, Inglourious Basterds and The Social Network. As you can see, when all of the various cast members are working well as a fine-oiled unit, it's reflected in the final product.

The 2012 Calvin goes to the cast of The Help, the 1960s-based race relations film. An almost exclusively female group (blink and you'll miss the majority of the testosterone in the movie), the acting was stellar across the board, bringing to life both the heroines and the villains of Jackson, Mississippi. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are receiving the lion's share of the accolades for the film, but it certainly couldn't have had the impact it did without the additional excellent work from Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ahna O'Reilly and Cicely Tyson. Each performance had its own nuances, and it was critical that the film’s direction bring it all together for the story to have the impact it did. Judging from audience reaction, The Help did have that impact, and we expect people to fondly remember this movie and its outstanding cast for years to come.


The Help won by just a hair, as only four votes separated it from third place. That means that our runner-up, Midnight in Paris, just barely missed out at winning the whole shebang. This Woody Allen joint boasted a top-of-the-line cast, with a central group (playing characters from the present) that included Woody Allen, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Kurt Fuller. It’s the character actors who portrayed the group from the 1920s who really make the movie pop, though. Corey Stoll almost steals the show as Ernest Hemingway, and Adrien Brody makes a terrific Salvador Dali. Other “past” performers who had the opportunity to shine were Marion Cotillard (as love interest Adriana), Alison Pill (as Zelda Fitzgerald), Yves Heck (as Cole Porter), Tom Hiddleston (as F. Scott Fitzgerald) and Kathy Bates (as Gertrude Stein).

Bridesmaids finishes in third place, just a hair behind Midnight in Paris. It’s tough to piece together the perfect comedy ensemble group for a film, particularly when much of the dialogue is actually improvised. Kristen Wiig leads the crew, of course, as Annie, the bridesmaid who is resenting every moment of what’s happening to her. She’s ably supported by Maya Rudolph, who plays Annie’s best friend and bride, along with the other bridesmaids – Wendi McLendon Covey, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper and of course Melissa McCarthy, who is over-the-top but hilarious as Megan. We also can’t omit the performances by Chris O’Dowd, who plays Wiig’s love interest, and Jill Clayburgh, in her final role before she passed away.

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