The nominations keep chugging, and today's category is for Best Acting Ensemble. A couple of these films have already had plenty of recognition on the circuit for the group acting, a couple others deserved much more, and the fifth never stood much a chance of getting any sort of awards outside of foreign language prizes.
Every actor not only has their own unique personality to realize (and they all do so with highly calibrated precision), but must also channel levels of Riggan Thompson's very own psyche. The extended takes allow for some beautifully interactive performance work wherein we get to observe subtle reactions and mini character arcs within the very same shot over the course of an entire scene.
The finest virtue of the four central performances, along with those of the many supporting players who float in and out of the story at various phases, is that they all have a breath of awkward naturalism – replete with uncomfortable pauses and nervous laughter. Most directors might consider this unpolished acting, but they ground every scene with an almost documentarian authenticity.
The tragicomic tone Ostlund is going for is a tricky mark to hit, but the performances are never less than engaging. Kuhnke brilliantly downplays his shame and emasculation until his big emotive moment; An explosion of dark comic catharsis. Darker yet is Kongsli's slow realization that she's unwilling to forgive him. Every secondary actor has a clear grasp of the text's invisible humour.
The ones working the hardest to unify the film's blend of intrigue and humour are the performers. Affleck is a reliable centre, and Pike gets to steal the show, but every supporting player spins wonderful character specificity with their relatively limited roles. Special mentions go to Carrie Coon as Nick's sister, and to Kim Dickens as the quick-lipped detective heading up the case.
This is easily one of the most well cast movies of the year, finding a treasure trove of character actors to stud the crown that is David Oyelowo's mighty central performance. These peripheral figures could have amalgamated together under the generic personality of 'Dr. King followers', but none of them ever fall into that trap, all finding distinct angles on which to take their roles.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
A Most Wanted Man