Critics’ Choice Movie Awards Countdown: Best Acting Ensemble

The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will air live on VH1, Thursday, January 12th. The show will be hosted by the very funny Rob Huebel, from Cartoon Network’s Children’s Hospital, and Paul Scheer from the FX comedy The League.

The show will also feature Fitz and the Tantrums as the CCMA house and a special award for director Martin Scorsese. In order to keep you excited about the awards I am profiling the nominees in each of the major categories.

Today: Best Acting Ensemble


Bridesmaids was arguably the funniest movie of 2011 thanks to the film’s extraordinary ensemble cast. If the Academy Awards treated comedy with any respect at all, both Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy could be making serious cases for nominations. Luckily, the Screen Actors Guild took Bridesmaids seriously; nominating the film alongside major contenders such as The Artist, The Help and Midnight in Paris for its highest honor, Outstanding Performance by a Cast.

The Artist

While there is great buzz about the performances of Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, there is praise to be spread around among the supporting players in The Artist as well. John Goodman is excellent at portraying a blustery 1920’s studio head without actually ever blustering out loud  and James Cromwell is a reassuring presence as the servant and caretaker to Jean Dujardin’s fading star. There should also be a special mention for Uggie the dog; the scene stealing Jack Russell Terrier who might have earned his own film series in the 1920’s for his lively performance.

The Descendants

Director Alexander Payne has a unique rhythm to his work that requires a talented cast, which is why the cast of The Descendants proved ideal for Payne’s heartbroken yet comic story. Leading the way is George Clooney in a performance that leaves behind any pretentious movie star polish in favor of a quiet and disarmingly gentle performance.

Shailene Woodley is every bit Clooney’s equal as the rebellious daughter trying to shake her father loose of his delusions of a perfect family. Finally, in arguably the most challenging role in the film, Judy Greer plays the cheated on wife of Matthew Lillard and steals the movie with a spectacular scene in the hospital room of Clooney’s comatose wife.

The Help

The favorite in the Best Acting Ensemble category is The Help. Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer are, for the most part, equal balanced supporting players in this historic drama depicting post-civil war-pre-civil rights southern America. While it is fair to say that Viola Davis is the standout of this group, she would not be nominated for Best Actress at the CCMA’s without Spencer as her comic foil and Stone as her rock solid dramatic partner.

The Ides of March

To be honest, I am mystified as to how The Ides of March landed in this category and Woody Allen’s vastly superior ensemble in Midnight in Paris did not. The Midnight in Paris ensemble has been criminally overlooked this awards season with Cory Stoll and Kathy Bates especially being unfairly ignored.

I don’t mean this to take anything away from the big names that populate The Ides of March, including George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, but I wonder if the star power didn’t put The Ides of March in over the more modest ensemble of Midnight in Paris.

The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards air on VH1 Thursday, January 13th. Vote for your favorite Acting Ensemble at

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About the author


Sean Kernan

I have been a film critic online and on the radio for 12 year years. I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association as well as a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.