Good casting is always attractive when it comes to the reputation of a movie. One of the most frequently asked question is, who’s in it? Therefore, for several producers and filmmakers, gathering a bunch of respected, well-known or bankable actors is always a priority.
For an actor, being nominated even once in his career grants him or her an elevation. Sometimes, the results and combinations are too good to defy, and sometimes it just doesn’t work at all (“Movie 43”, anyone?).
Here is a list of 15 movies that have succeeded in assembling a prestigious cast composed mostly by Academy Awards nominees and winners (not all at the same time of the release, but the talent and promises were shown) , the results made history.
15. A Bridge Too Far (1977) with 6 nominated actors
Richard Attenborough directed this big-budget, would-be blockbuster combat epic, and he attacked the adaptation of the novel armed with a cast of well-known faces to help the audience get oriented in a complex landscape, whom he had go through boot camps before filming.
Reconstructing “Operation Market Garden” needed some star power, thus, at least six of them are Oscar nominated actors: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier and Robert Redford.
The success of “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Thin Red Line” brought back the war movie back as a popular genre; the 2000s also counts some gems like “Jarhead”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Fury” and the two Clint Eastwood movies, “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima”.
Some movies are also missing from this recap, so feel free to add them in the comments.
14. L.A. Confidential (1997) with 6 nominated actors
“L.A. Confidential” often gets chosen as a favorite movie on so many lists. It’s probably because it’s one of the greatest néo-noir pictures ever made, with brilliant direction coupled with an outstanding set and costume design. Sure, it got swept aside at the Oscars by “Titanic”, but it’s a true masterpiece notwithstanding.
The film represents a high point for Kim Basinger, who grabbed her only acting nomination (for which she won), but pretty much all of her co-stars have been better and more lauded in other places: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn.
13. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) with 6 nominated actors
Like just about every other adaptation of a play (especially a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama) to the big screen, the transition needs a well-written script and a bunch of great actors put together, delivering some of the best performances of their career. The whole movie stands on their ability to deliver the dialogue in some defined locations.
Luckily, the 100 percent masculine cast of David Mamet’s movie is filled with mind-blowing actors who have received at least one Oscar nomination during their career: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin and Alec Baldwin.
12. The Departed (2006) with 6 nominated actors
One of the things that Martin Scorsese’s infinite talent can easily proclaim is his ability to work with whichever actors he wants, and mold their performances to be praised and publicly celebrated. Ellen Burstyn, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cate Blanchett, and Paul Newman won Oscars from their collaborations with Scorsese, and countless Oscar nominations can be added as well (Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Alan Alda, Winona Ryder, Juliette Lewis).
When the rights from the Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” were brought, making it Scorsese’s first remake, we expected a prestigious cast and we weren’t wrong. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin all received Oscar nominations during their professional years, and all signed onto this kickass thriller.
Apart from Mark Wahlberg’s nomination (losing to Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine”), no other brilliant performance from this film was noticed by members of the Academy. The highlight of 2007’s ceremony was, indeed, the first win for its filmmaker and the standing ovation this long wait stimulated.
11. The Godfather (1972) with 6 nominated actors
“The Godfather” is probably the first movie that pops into a lot of people’s heads when they think of great casts; Marlon Brando won an Oscar for his portrayal of Don Vito Corleone (the second after the one he received for “On The Waterfront”, earning eight nominations when his career ended).
Al Pacino (eight nominations and a win), James Caan (his only nomination to date) and Robert Duvall (seven nominations and a win) were also nominated for their work on Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.
Diane Keaton wasn’t nominated at the 1973 ceremony like her co-stars, but won one for Annie Hall (and has four nominations to date); Talia Shire was also not nominated, but has two nominations, for 1974’s “The Godfather: Part II” and 1976’s “Rocky”.
To be fair, the second movie also has six Oscar nominated actors if you count Caan’s brief flashback: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro (who actually won, making in the first time in history that two actors won Oscars playing the same role) and Talia Shire.
10. August: Osage County (2013) with 7 nominated actors
When a movie adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play produced by George Clooney was announced along with its amazing cast, everyone was screaming that it would be a major Oscar frontrunner. In the end, the movie was only nominated for two Oscars, for the two marquee actors, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, who lost respectively to Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong’o.
Despite confronting some small criticisms, like the decision to cast British actors (Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Andrea Riseborough, who was nearly cast as Karen) as the characters who were written to be all-American, the dysfunctional family drama can thank its ensemble for the powerful interpretations they gave.
No wonder, because seven of them have been nominated for Oscars during their career: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Sam Shepard.
9. Mars Attacks! (1996) with 7 nominated actors
“Mars Attacks!” was the quick response to the earthquake “Independence Day” provoked at almost the same time, restoring alien invasion as a genre again. Completely different from Roland Emmerich’s film, it was more like the B-movie sci-fi-alien genre of 1950s loaded with wit, nifty little ideas, and an extraordinary sense of design that’s not meant to be taken seriously.
Perhaps it’s that cheesy spoof quality, impregnated with Tim Burton’s touch, that allowed the movie to have such a stellar cast including seven Oscar nominated actors: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Rod Steiger, Natalie Portman and Barbet Schroeder.
Another movie from Burton’s eclectic career has almost the same number of actors earning Oscar nominations during their career. It’s the forgettable 2001 “Planet of Apes”, with Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Paul Giamatti, Tim Roth, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kris Kristofferson and Charlton Heston.