Question of the Week: Who’d you pick for Best (or Worst) Casting in 2012?

Since it’s the week of the Oscars, I’ve been preparing my predictions and also an Oscar-edition of Everybody’s Chattin’ series. That’s on schedule for Friday but today I just want to pick your brain a bit today, so hope you’d indulge me.

CastingByDocI just found out about this post from Flavorwire site (thanks to @WordandFilm tweet): New Oscar Categories We’d Like to See — And Who We’d Nominate to Win Them. They have about five different category suggestions, but I really like the Best Ensemble category (like in the SAG Awards) and also honoring Casting Directors in the Best Casting category. I totally agree w/ the article in that “casting directors are the unsung heroes of the industry… The work they do is often key, yet widely devalued and misunderstood.”

From that article, I also learned about this awesome documentary Casting By that highlights the career of Marion Dougherty, who was the first casting director to receive single-card screen credit. Based on the review on IMDb, the film features a bunch of footage of first roles given to future stars, i.e. Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, and James Dean, who was apparently one of the first actors she had cast.

Now, back to the Best Casting question. If I to take all the casting in 2012 films, obviously some worked out and some didn’t. On the top of my head I think I’d the award to the casting director(s) of Silver Linings Playbook for casting Jennifer Lawrence as an unstable young woman struggling with the loss of her husband.

Best Casting of 2012?

I just think she’s just perfect in the role, wise beyond her years even though she’s just entered her legal drinking age of 21 when the film was made! I really can’t picture anyone else in the role that could do an equally effective job. Now, I’m sure there are others that have made an excellent casting decision – whoever cast nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild obviously has a keen eye for talent. I haven’t seen the film yet though, so can’t say much about her acting.

As for the worst, well I’m going to *honor* Hollywood’s most famous young couple Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in their roles in Bel Ami and Snow White & The Huntsman, respectively.  I’ve already made my feelings known about the vacant *acting style* of K-Stew in my review. As for Pattinson, he was so ill-fitting and utterly unconvincing as the supposedly seductive and manipulative George Duroy, the protagonist from Guy de Maupassant’s classic novel. It’s even worse seeing him [over]acting opposite real thespians Kristin Scott Thomas and Uma Thurman in the film! I’d think just by casting different [read: more capable and expressive] actors in the leading roles would improve both films significantly!

Worst Casting Duo in 2012

Now your turn!

If there were a Best (or Worst) Casting award, which film would you give that award to and for which actor/actress?

78 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Who’d you pick for Best (or Worst) Casting in 2012?

  1. There are so many great choices for this. I have to choose just one?! Walton Goggin was dynamite in his limited Django role; Ray Liotta was great in Killing Them Softly; Richard Jenkins was absolutely the right guy for both is Cabin in the Woods and his Killing Them Softly roles; and Amy Adams hit her role in The Master out of the park.

    1. Oh no, you don’t just have to choose one, as many as you want John, the more the merrier 😀 I wish I had seen any of the films you mentioned, but they’re all great actors.

    1. GaryLee828

      Fernando, I have to disagree with you about Gina Carano being miscast since the part was written specifically for her. lol.

      Yeah, she isn’t a great actor, but what other woman could pull off the fighting sequences as she did? She was the only person Soderbergh wanted to use b/c of her fighting skills.

      For it being her first role, and her being terribly shy, and an introvert I think she did okay.

        1. GaryLee828

          But her flat delivery actually worked and made her character feel void of emotion. Her amateur acting wasn’t much of a distraction; it kind of fit the character.

          Now, if you cast her in a drama and she came across that way it’d be a huge distraction; but being trained as a human weapon as her character was, her flat acting actually fit, I think.

          1. “…being trained as a human weapon as her character was, her flat acting actually fit” Precisely! It’s funny that now Gina is dating the ultimate superhero Henry Cavill! She could practically be Wonder Woman!

        2. Fernando, I don’t think Soderbergh cast her because of her acting ability, I mean he saw her fighting in a cage, ahah. She was hired to be a fighter and she pulled that off with aplomb!

          1. Haha, you’re both right but, for some reason, I thought she would be a better actress so I was kinda disappointed there. But yes, she was amazing in the fight scenes. Those were awesome.

            1. Yeah, the fight scenes are definitely her strength. I’m just glad Soderbergh didn’t have her do too much dialog, he knew exactly what her strengths are and made the most of ’em.

    2. Yeah, I think Liam Neeson was first choice right? Now that’d be interesting as his younger lookalike Benjamin Walker played Lincoln also in the Vampire Hunter version.

      I actually don’t mind Carano in Haywire. She’s supposed to be this cold, bad ass assassin and that’s exactly what she was.

  2. GaryLee828

    Best Casting:

    First-time actor Dwight Henry in his role of Wink on “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. The producers had to fight to pry him away from his job, but he eventually gave in and took on the role, and it’d be hard to imagine anyone else in the role. There’s a reason the producers were so persistent to land him.

    Michael Shannon as crooked cop Bobby Monday on “Premium Rush”. Shannon was great in this role, as he always is!

    Ben Whishaw in “Skyfall”…

    Jason Clarke in “Zero Dark Thirty”…

    Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”…(obviously)

    Worst Casting:

    Tyler Perry in “Alex Cross”…(terrible actor)

    Will Sasso in “The Three Stooges”…(dude is not funny one iota)

    Reese Witherspoon in “This Means War”…(just not buying these guys will be fighting over her)

    Taylor Kitsch in “Savages” and “John Carter”…(terrible actor)

    Chris O’Dowd in “Friends with Kids”…(if this guy was a food, he’d be a rice cake)

    I’d also add Daniel Radcliffe in “The Woman in Black” not b/c he did a bad job, but b/c he just looked too young for the role.

    1. Great picks GaryLee! I like Whishaw as the brainy Q in Skyfall, it’s funny as I first saw him as the melancholy John Keats but he somehow fits perfectly as a tech geek too. Yep, love Clarke in ZDT as well.

      Oh man, Reese was a terrible choice in This Means War! I also didn’t find her believable at all that those two guys are willing to die for her! As for Taylor Kitsch in John Carter, I agree he could’ve been a lot better but I had such low expectations about him that I actually didn’t mind him so much when I was watching it.

      1. GaryLee828

        I didn’t even see John Carter; it looked terrible to me – and I think this miscasting was a big reason why. I also skipped Battleship b/c that looked like garbage, too. I made the mistake of watching Savages, and have regretted it ever since. Some things we do in life we can never take back! 🙂

  3. I’m going to look at it from an ensemble. For me the best cast as a whole is from Zero Dark Thirty. I mean top to bottom great cast. Chastain, Strong, Clarke, Edgerton, Chandler, Pratt, Ramirez, Gandolfini, etc. Awesome!

    1. I agree that’s a great ensemble, but I could do without Chris Pratt! I’d also put ARGO (who won best ensemble in SAG) as every single actor was great. Affleck’s acting is perhaps not-so-great but hey, he did direct the film 😀

  4. Best cast movies for me recently would have to be Killing Them Softly, Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts Of The Southern Wild – the leads and support in these movies were tremendous. In terms of animation, Wreck-It Ralph was also excellently cast – John C Reilly pitched it perfectly for adults and children!

    1. Having only seen ZDT, I’d have to take your word for it. I have been hearing great things about Reilly in Wreck-It-Ralph! Can’t wait to rent that one.

  5. I guess I’d pick either “Lincoln” or “Django Unchained” for Best Casting, but as to Kirsten Stewart, why are you blaming her acting, that’s movie’s problems was the director, making her do that. Go up-and-down her filmography, she’s the next Jodie Foster, but too many critics have only seen “Twilight” and “Snow White,” wear she’s playing lifeless characters, and in “Snow White”‘s case, directed by somebody who clearly knew nothing about how to direct actors (Charlize Theron’s way over-the-top performance should’ve been the clue that it was directing, we all know what she can do when she’s at her best, and allowed to do it) but look at her work in “Adventureland”, “The Runaways”, “Welcome to the Rileys”, “The Yellow Handkerchief”, “The Cake Eaters”, “Panic Room” even, just to name a few of her great roles. “Zathura…”, even. It’s not her acting, it’s the characters she’s forced to play, and especially in “Snow White”, incredibly bad directing.

    1. Hmmm, that’s an interesting defense about K-Stew. I guess you’re right I haven’t seen her in anything besides Twilight and SWATH, which both are badly-directed. I might decide to see those films and make a better judgment about her as an actress, but still it doesn’t change the fact that her casting as Snow White was ill-advised.

      1. She could’ve pulled off “Snow White…” if she was allowed. (I’ll concede, it isn’t the smartest casting but with filmmaker, It didn’t matter who you put in that movie.) That film was directed by a first-time filmmaker, with just a short film in his credits before, who knew how to make a dark, ugly world, with good special effects, and didn’t know how to direct anybody, or how to let them create their characters. It’s the quintessential of how, he’s sticking to a vision so much that, he’s making the actors, do exactly what he wants, whether it works or not, and that means, they can’t get into a character enough, because they’re human scenery essentially, and that was why that film doesn’t work. (Not that it was a good idea to begin with, but still…) As to “Twilight”, I’ve only seen the first film, and that was directed by Katharine Hardwicke, who is a good director; she did “Thirteen” years ago, so while she’s been a little inconsistent since, I give some slack on that. I always thought the problem with “Twilight”, was that, the material sucks to begin with; to begin with. They’ve had bad directing and filmmaking, but the producers of the film know, that in order to get the biggest box office and audience, they have to stick to the books as much as possible, ’cause the audience they want. I don’t blame them, that’s what I’d do if I was them, but the book is a bad Mormon parable with flimsy characters and a lot of people standing around looking good, so that’s what the movies have essentially been from what I’ve heard. So, I toss out the “Twilight” series completely, for everyone involved (Although I agree with you about Robert Pattinson, I haven’t been impressed with him, in anything yet (Although “Bel Ami,” was gonna be bad no matter what, too. Did that movie make any sense to you?) and yeah, go scout out her other work, you’ll change your mind, quickly.

        You can find my review of “Snow White…” on my website btw; I have some very interesting things to say about my experience watching it. I’ll post the link below:

  6. My favourite would have to be Denzel Washington in Flight, worst would be John Goodman from the same film. The film had a nice serious mood going for it throughout, all of a sudden out of nowhere Goodman’s character comes out like its the Big Lebowsky or something. Too much of a contrast for me.

    1. I remember your qualms about Goodman in Flight. I’m very curious to see that now. I really like him in The Artist and ARGO, but my memory of Big Lebowski is hazy so I guess he doesn’t bother me in that regard.

  7. The best casting choices would be Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix for The Master. The worst casting choice is Clark Duke in A Thousand Words.

    1. Well those two guys are nominated for Oscar so yeah, definitely great casting. Haven’t seen A Thousand Words, don’t even know who Clark Duke is so I guess that’s a good thing? 🙂

  8. DDL was great casting as Abe and John Goodman was atrocious in Flight. I think one of the best bits of casting though was Martin Freeman as Bilbo in The Hobbit, that was a stroke of genius. Oh and Russell Crowe as Javert in Les Mis was terrible!

  9. Worst? Tyler Perry in that action flick Alex Cross.That was really the standout of last year. Jeremy Renner in the Bourne Legacy. He just didn’t bring any of the charisma that Damon had. Taylor Kitsch in everything he did last year. His brooding style just doesn’t work for the movies he was cast in. Sadly he’ll probably never have a better role than Friday Night Lights Tim Riggins.

    The best… Daniel Day Lewis, Quvenzhané Wallis, Jennifer Lawrence. Ok… so they’re pretty obvious. Two less obvious choices for me were Ann Dowd in Compliance and Ezra Miller in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Hard to believe Ezra Miller went from We Need To Talk About Kevin to Wallflower. Truly impressive range.

    1. Oh man, even just looking at the trailer of Alex Cross I went… Tyler Perry??! There’s no way I’ll be watching that. YES on Renner in Bourne Legacy, he’s barely got any of the charisma of the predecessor, his ‘brooding’ acting style is just boring and pretentious.

      I still need to see Compliance and ‘Wallflower.’ Been hearing great things about Ezra as a talented young actor.

    1. Only 20%??? More like 60% to me, ahah. I mean if they cast Lawrence in that role it’d be instantly a better movie. Same with the guy playing the Prince, both are lame!

      Ahah, you and your devotion to Skyfall! Javier definitely rate as one of the creepiest Bond villains!

  10. Worst – Tarantino casting Foxx as Django, he just completely ruined the 3rd act of the movie for me.
    Best – well that will be Lee Pace in Lincoln 😀 Also loved the casting of Charlize Theron in SWATH, Fassbender in Prometheus and Gina Gershon and Thomas Hayden Church in Killer Joe.

    1. I think at one point they were gonna cast Idris in Django right? Or am I imagining that? I’d think Idris would’ve been a lot better (surely you’d agree) 😉

      Lee Pace in Lincoln! Now THAT’s another great reason for me to see it. To be honest I’m not rushing to see it. Charlize was great in SWATH but I wish she was given a bit more to do. Can’t argue w/ Fassy as David!

      1. Yeah, but Tarantino decided against it because Idris is British. This is one of the dumbest decisions ever, especially since when I saw Idris in the Wire his accent was so convincing I was sure he was American.

        Lee is in Lincoln for maybe 15 minutes but he is very memorable 🙂

        1. That is ludicrous!! Idris’ American accent is spot on and Brits have played US characters perfectly well for ages. I mean just look at DDL as Lincoln, for one. I will look for Lee in Lincoln, I’m sure I won’t miss him, ahah.

  11. Hi, Ruth and company:

    I saw John Favreau’s ‘Zathura’ over last weekend. A pretty well executed flick. Except Kristen Stewart was basically an animated zombie as the baby sitter in that film. And she hasn’t changed her style of non acting one iota since.

    Have no idea why Chelsea Handler was even in ‘This Means War’. Hell! Even a committee mandated, stereotypical gay guy across the hall or next door would have had more possibilities and would have been far more entertaining.

    Jeremy Renner can do much better than the ‘Bourne’ and ‘Avengers’ franchise.

    Tarantino lost his mojo for me with ‘Jackie Brown’. Still waiting to see Walton Goggins in a sweaty, creepy Warren Oates big screen kind of role outside his superb Boyd Crowder in FX’s ‘Justified’.

    1. Ahahaha, two mentions of Zathura in regards to K-Stew w/ differing opinions! “…an animated zombie” sounds spot on Jack, sounds like that’s her *acting signature* ahah!

      Oh dear, Chelsea is the most revolting thing I’ve ever come across in cinema… she’s just toxic with her repulsive vocabulary and manner. She makes even Melissa McCarthy looks as elegant as the Queen of England!!

  12. Hello Ruth 🙂 I just found out about FlixChatter and I think it’s a really great site 🙂
    For me I would choose The Perks of Being a Wallflower with those incredible lead trio + DDL as Lincoln, and (someone has mentioned it before) Martin Freeman as Bilbo is the one of the best things from The Hobbit. Worst would be Taylor Kitsch as John Carter and Aaron Johnson in Anna Karenina. Well those are the ones that are on the top of my head right now. Interesting post!

    1. Hi Fariz, welcome to FC! Thanks for the kind words. I’m soooo glad you mentioned Martin Freeman as Bilbo!! I’d rate him as one of the BEST casting decisions in 2012 indeed. Can’t imagine anyone else in that role that could be as perfect. I like Aaron Johnson but I do feel he doesn’t suit the character of Vronsky in AK. I have yet to see it though.

  13. I was kind of surprised you didn’t like Pattinson in bel Ami, only because i remember you liking him in Remember Me.

    And my choices Emily Blunt in Looper(First role of hers that really showed me the potential everyone else seemed to see in her), Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki in the Avengers,Neeson in the Grey, and Amy Acker in Cabin in the Woods. As for worst casting…nothing is coming to mind

    1. Y’know I gave him the benefit of the doubt because I like him in Remember Me. That’s the only reason I watched it as I was curious to see how he’d fare against more experienced actors like Kristin Scott Thomas. Well, turns out he was horrible!! I don’t find him attractive in it, let alone being seductive enough to woo these women only for their money. He just lacks the swagger and charm for the role. I could see someone like Tom Hardy in that role instead. He’s perhaps not as ‘chiseled’ but he’s got way more charisma to make up for it.

      Oh I LOVE Blunt in Looper, great pick there. I do love Hiddleston as Loki too, great call Julian!

  14. Ted S.

    Is the casting just for this year’s films? I guess for me, it’s not the worst but disappointing was QT casting of Foxx as Django, he originally wanted Will Smith but Smith didn’t want the role. He should’ve cast Idris, Foxx was descent in the film but Idris would’ve done a better job, especially during the action scenes.

    Of course the best goes to Day Lewis as Lincoln.

    Now if we talking about the worst casting ever, I have to go with Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, I think Ron Howard should not have a say on how to cast a leading man on films based of popular books. He did it again by casting Bardem as Roland in the Dark Tower movie, thank god the film never got a green light, Bardem’s a good actor but he’s not The Gunslinger.

    1. Yep, just 2012 or 2013 if you so choose. I think we talked about Django once before Ted, I personally think Idris would’ve been much better than Foxx.

      Well let’s hope that The Dark Tower movie would get greenlit one day with the RIGHT actor.

    1. Oh it’s a Widget that you just activate in WordPress. I don’t know if it depends on the Theme?? Mine is available under Appearance > Widgets and I just dragged it to the Sidebar and it shows up 😀

  15. Best: Logan Lerman in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Perfect in that role, but not sure how he’ll fare elsewhere.)
    Worst: Jessica Biel in Total Recall (I’ve already forgotten her role though. 😉 )

    1. Logan was quite good in 3:10 to Yuma but terrible in Three Musketeers. I haven’t seen ‘Wallflower’ yet though. I heard Ezra Miller was great in it.

      As for Biel, well she’s terrible in a lot of things, Total Recall and also that one w/ Gerry Butler, Playing For Keeps!

  16. BEST: DDL in Lincoln, Zac Efron & Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained, Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, Channing Tatum & Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

    WORST: Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman, Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained.

    1. Interesting to see Efron being mentioned, I haven’t seen anything he’s done yet, but he seems to have ‘grown’ as an actor, in terms of his ability I mean. Glad you agree on K-Stew,, but I didn’t even know QT also acted in Django, ahah.

  17. I think you picked great there about worst casting, Stewart as Snow White (popular choice I guess). I dislike JGL in Looper too, I think he’s trying hard being Willis and his face was weird.

    Omar Sy in Intouchables also deserves a praise. Ah yes, Ezra Miller in Perks of Being A Wallflower. Paul Dano in Ruby Sparks.

    1. Oh I actually love JGL in Looper. I agree the makeup is weird but that’s the fault of the director and makeup artist in making him look that way. I thought his mannerism mimicking Bruce Willis was brilliant!

      Oh I agree about Dano in Ruby Sparks, what a wonderful performance!

  18. There were so many great casting choices this year. Just to mention a few that may not be as mainstream as others: Paul Dano in Ruby Sparks, Ezra Miller in Perks of Being a Wallflower, Mathew McCoughnauhey in Killer Joe (never thought I’d say that), JGL in Looper, Michael Pena in End of Watch and Michael Fassbender in Prometheus. As for the more talk-about films, I’d also include Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises, Marion Cottillard in Rust and Bone, Christoph Waltz in Django and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings.
    As for the worst, I can’t say I disagree with your choices. I found K Stewart especially dreadful in Snow White and The Huntsman, not to mention the film was a major disappointment, only saved in part by Charlize Theron.

    1. I haven’t seen a few ‘best casting’ you listed Niels, but I totally agree about Paul Dano in Ruby Sparks, JGL in Looper and Fassbender in Prometheus. As for Hardy, I wish he had his normal voice instead of being so unintelligible in TDKR. He was so awesome in Inception.

      K-Stew is just dreadful all around in a badly-directed movie. Even Theron was chewing the scenery the whole time.

  19. Sam Rockwell in Seven Psychopaths was freaking amazing! He reminded me why he is such an awesome actor 😀 I think the entire cast of The Perks of Being a Wallflower was spot on as well.

    As for worst, I won’t delve in negatives ahah 😀

    1. I still haven’t seen Seven Psychopaths yet but I have a feeling I may not love it as much as In Bruges. We’ll see. Still need to see ‘Wallflower’ as well.

  20. Great question here. Hmm,

    Best Casting of 2012?: The Avengers, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook, The Impossible and Moonrise Kingdom.

    Worst Casting of 2012? (…not to be confused with WORST movie of 2012): Mirror Mirror, Red Dawn, Battleship. (can’t really put Twilight in here, because it’s expected and the mediocre actors fit the mediocre characters)

    1. Those all sound like awesome casting indeed, T. I’ve only seen Avengers, MR and SLP from your list.

      As for Worst, who do you think shouldn’t have been cast in Mirror, Mirror? Julia Roberts? ‘Cause I thought Lily Colins and Armie Hammer were perfect as Snow White and Prince. Amen about Twilight, that’s why I didn’t mention those two in that franchise, ’cause I think that whole thing is beyond redemption, ahah.

        1. I didn’t like Julia either, it was very bad casting indeed. I do like Hammer though, I mean he’s sooo hunky he could practically jumped out of the fairy tale books, ahah. Sean Bean is sooo wasted in it, poor guy!

  21. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: Solomon Kane, Dancing on the Edge miniseries + Casting By doc |

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