8 December 2008 12:59 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

"It's all over the place and more erratic than it has been in years past," says Kristopher Tapley, editor of the film awards site InContention.com, of the front-runners for the Screen Actors Guild Award for best ensemble. Sean Smith, Los Angeles bureau chief of Entertainment Weekly, believes the ensembles are smaller than they've been previously, "with two or three actors, not seven or eight. Even a picture like Milk that has a significant cast, there are only three or four central roles. The ensembles are intimate this year and they're quiet, contained, and controlled." "In a true ensemble film, it's hard to pinpoint the stars," says Kevin Lally, executive editor of Film Journal International (a corporate sibling of Back Stage). "Last year there were some real ensembles, like No Country for Old Men. This year you have some films with strong casts, like Frost/Nixon, but essentially it's Frank Langella's show, »

- Simi Horwitz

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