By Jeff Labrecque
Updated September 09, 2011 at 08:35 PM EDT
Claudette Barius

Despite what you have seen in the trailers, director Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion is really the Valentine’s Day of global pandemic thrillers. I’m joking, of course. But just as last year’s romantic-comedy invited a gaggle of beautiful Hollywood stars, including five Oscar nominees, to fumble for the glory of love, Contagion features eight actors in its cast who’ve been nominated by the Academy: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, John Hawkes, Elliott Gould, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne. While not unprecedented — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 also boasted eight performers who’ve been so honored by their industry — it’s a mighty deep pool of talent. (Mind you, that’s not even counting the likes of Jennifer Ehle and Bryan Cranston, who also have roles.)

But while Valentine’s Day and the upcoming New Year’s Evefive eight Oscar-nominated thesps — rely on stunt casting and Harry Potter is all about arming prestigious Brits with mighty wands, Contagion appears to be a uniquely collaborative superstar effort. Credit Soderbergh, who specializes in sprawling, multi-layered storytelling that lures serious actors and Hollywood stars to even minor supporting roles (See: Traffic, Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven). Or maybe Soderbergh simply tells his actor friends in each case that this movie is really really really going to be his last movie before he retires.

Can you think of a past movie that can give Contagion‘s cast a run for its money?

Read more:

‘Contagion’ review

25 Fall Movies We Can’t Wait to See

Oh my God: Steven Soderbergh killed Gwyneth!