2015 Calvin Awards: Best Cast

By Kim Hollis

February 10, 2015

Magic: The Blathering.

In addition to rewarding individual performances, films, directors and writers, BOP also recognizes that the overall composition and chemistry of a cast is critical to the success of a film. To that end, we select those groups whose contributions were most important to the quality of the projects in which they starred.

Our winner for Best Cast is the acting team behind the delightful confection The Grand Budapest Hotel. This comedy from Wes Anderson features plenty of the usual suspects we’ve come to expect in his films – Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton and Bob Balaban – but also adds a host of performers outside the norm. Ralph Fiennes is the centerpiece of the film, as his Monsieur Gustave H. is a memorable character for the ages. He’s ably supported by young up-and-comers Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan, who provide a wide-eyed naïveté as counterpoint to Fiennes and F. Murray Abraham. Harvey Keitel (who previously appeared in Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom) is shockingly hilarious, and other featured players include Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux and Tom Wilkinson. It’s an absolute wealth of riches and they all work together beautifully to deliver a comedy unlike anything released in theaters in 2015.

Coming in a very close second is Birdman, which received more first place votes overall from our staff (six for it versus four for The Grand Budapest Hotel), but had less consistent ballot support (GBH was on 18 ballots versus just 12 for Birdman). With the entire film having an intimate feel, appearing to be following the actors in a continuous long take, it was necessary that the audience really get a sense of each individual’s place in the story. Of course, the film is centered on Michael Keaton and his character Riggan Thomson. Since Riggan is directing a stage play, the actors and certain crew members become important as well. Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough each have their own individual conflicts, while Emma Stone as Riggan’s daughter and assistant is a sad, sympathetic figure. Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Lindsay Duncan are also terrific in supporting roles.


Next up is Interstellar, which has a smaller set of very passionate voters behind it. Anchored by Matthew McConaughey, who has reinvented himself quite nicely over the last two years with this film, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, the film also relies on some top-notch youth performances from Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet. Jessica Chastain is our earthbound guide as the film progresses, and other supporting turns from Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, David Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn and John Lithgow provide compelling (and sometimes alarming) performances.

BOP definitely has some fanboys in its ranks, as three of our remaining Best Cast films are comic book adaptations. The first of these is also is the biggest box office earner of the bunch. Guardians of the Galaxy shocked the world when it was released and not only because it made oodles of money. Everyone loved it, too, and much of that adoration comes from a cast that was hilarious and fun. Of course, Chris Pratt as Star-Lord provides a Han Solo-esque hero for a new generation, while the other Guardians were terrific as well. Dave Bautista, previously best known as a wrestler for the WWE, was pitch perfect as Drax the Destroyer, a violent but surprisingly sensitive soul with no ear for irony. Other members of the group were Gamora, portrayed by a caustic Zoe Saldana, and Rocket Raccoon and Groot, who were magnificently voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively. (BOP favorite Sean Gunn provided the motion capture acting for the two CGI-rendered characters.) A supporting rogue’s gallery includes Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and Djimon Hounsou, while John C. Reilly, Benicio del Toro and Peter Serafinowicz each get their moments to ham it up. It’s a stellar cast in an out-of-this-world Marvel movie.

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