2015 Calvin Awards: Best Cast
By Kim Hollis
February 10, 2015
Gone Girl takes fifth place, as its ensemble cast brought the characters from the popular Gillian Flynn novel to life. Heading up the group were Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy Dunne, the seemingly troubled couple at the center of the story. Affleck plays off his own persona nicely for the role, alternating between likable and fallible. As for Pike, Amazing Amy is a role that seems to be perfectly in her wheelhouse. Tyler Perry is the best he’s ever been in a small supporting role, and Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Neil Patrick Harris all provide outstanding work as well. It’s a movie that lives and dies on the strength of its cast, and David Fincher and his team hit a home run.
Sixth place brings us our second of our three comic book films, X-Men: Days of Future Past. The latest film in the Marvel franchise brings together cast members from the original three films as well as the recent reboot X-Men: First Class. Thus, we have both James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto, and then Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page and a host of others to take on the many mutant roles that populate the film. The blend of past and future becomes seamless thanks to the work of these performers.
One might think that Selma is a film driven purely by a single performance, and indeed David Oyelowo is transcendent as he portrays Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet, his performance might not rise to the level it achieves without a top-notch cast to back him up. Carmen Ejogo is particularly noteworthy as Coretta Scott King (a role she has now played twice), and there are also strong turns from Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Johnson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Colman Domingo and Wendell Pierce.
Musicals are a tricky genre. Often, they’re comprised of large, sprawling casts and set pieces, making it easy for things to get out of hand and one character or another’s storyline to get lost in the shuffle. Into the Woods managed to transcend this issue, as it is simply brimming with memorable performances. Foremost amongst the actors involved are James Corden and Emily Blunt, who become our eyes and ears as they guide us through the story. Anna Kendrick is an unexpected and sympathetic Cinderella. Lilla Crawford and Daniel Huttlestone provide youthful innocence in their portrayals of Red Riding Hood and Jack. Johnny Depp shows up to be creepy for a few moments – an interpretation perfectly in keeping with his particular character. Meryl Streep has been getting a lot of attention for her portrayal of The Witch, but it may be Chris Pine who actually steals the show. His Prince Charming is over-the-top smarmy and hilarious, a cad who you can’t help but fall for.
Our final comic film appears in ninth place. Captain America: The Winter Soldier obviously rests primarily upon the very able shoulders of Chris Evans. And yet, the film rises to greatness because of the supporting players. Sebastian Stan does damaged well as he portrays Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier. Scarlett Johansson finds some additional depth for the Black Widow in what is now her third appearance in a Marvel film. Robert Redford reminds us that he’s a classic for a reason. Additional terrific performances from Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson remind us that even when a superhero film is focused on one key character, it’s the people who surround the hero that make him interesting.
Rounding out the top 10 is the cast of Boyhood, the 12-years-in-the-making passion project from Richard Linklater. What’s perhaps most impressive is that the film’s center, Ellar Coltrane, becomes more than just a kid Linklater signed to play a role. We grow with him and watch his development, and we’re truly invested in what happens to him. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are both Academy Award nominees for their performances and deservedly so. Different cast members filter in and out of the “boy’s” life, though one constant is his sister, Samantha, portrayed by a delightful Lorelai Linklater.
A few movies that finished just outside of the top 10 include Snowpiercer, The LEGO Movie, Chef, Inherent Vice and 22 Jump Street.
2015 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
||The Grand Budapest Hotel
||Guardians of the Galaxy
||X-Men: Days of Future Past
||Into the Woods
||Captain America: The Winter Soldier