We have an amazing and unique circumstance in our Best Supporting Actor category this year. Our top two performers are separated by only seven points - and both men appear in the same film.
2017 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actor
By Kim Hollis
February 23, 2017
Those two gentlemen are Jeff Bridges, our winner, and runner-up Ben Foster. They were the yin and the yang, so to speak, of the western crime drama Hell or High Water. Bridges plays Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton, a crusty and cantankerous old guy who’s hot on the trail of two bank robbers, played by Chris Pine (the level-headed one) and Foster (the unhinged one). The cat and mouse game that occurs throughout the film is engrossing, and much of that can be credited to the strong work by these two supporting players. Bridges is that lovable old uncle who can sometimes embarrass you with his racist or otherwise inappropriate remarks, but you can’t help rooting for him. Foster, on the other hand, is frightening in his willingness to take things too far. He’s out of control and Foster makes you believe that he has history that would lead him to become this man. This is a fabulous one-two punch.
Third place, then, goes to Mahershala Ali, who played the kind-hearted drug dealer Juan in Moonlight. His performance is touching and impacting, especially as he deals with the juxtaposition of caring for and mentoring a young boy even as he is simultaneously dealing drugs to the young man’s mother. When Ali hangs his head at the end of Act One, we feel the devastation. Ali was a revelation in 2016, and we look forward to seeing (much) more from him.
Clearly, we felt a lot stronger about those top three performances than the remainder of the top ten, as first to third were separated by only eight points, while third to fourth place is a difference of 41 points. That fourth spot goes to another up and comer, Lucas Hedges, who is both darkly humorous and heartbreaking in Manchester by the Sea. For a person so young to be able to convey such emotion signals a strong future in the industry.
Fifth place is bittersweet, as we recognize the late Alan Rickman for his work in Eye in the Sky. As Lieutenant Colonel Frank Benson, Rickman brings both humor and weightiness to the role. Even as he’s worrying about purchasing the right doll for his granddaughter, he’s also dealing with a major national relations crisis. We’re with him all the way thanks to Rickman’s ability to ease from lighter moments to the heaviest ones possible.
An up-and-coming heartthrob and a guy who used to be known as one occupy our sixth and seventh spots. Alden Ehrenreich is on the verge of being big, seeing as how he’s starring in the upcoming Han Solo film. He certainly inspired confidence in 2016, as he portrayed Hobie Doyle in Hail, Caesar! He’s a simple, naive actor playing singing cowboy roles when he is tapped for a more serious drama. His performance was revelatory enough that we named him as our Breakthrough artist this year.
Hugh Grant was once a rom-com king, but this year we recognize him for his supporting turn in Florence Foster Jenkins. As Florence’s husband St. Clair Bayfield, he exhibits great care for Florence even as he has a deeply involved romantic relationship besides her. His driving motivation is to make Florence happy, and Grant’s performance is sympathetic when it could have been easy to make this character one note.
Our final three selections include a relative newcomer, a longstanding talent, and a former BOP winner for Breakthrough Performance. Trevante Rhodes had appeared in small films and lesser-seen television series, but with his role as adult Chiron in Moonlight, he has catapulted to wider attention. We sympathized with his character as he forgave his mother and rediscovered a long-lost love. Ninth place is Michael Shannon for his dedicated detective in the story within a story of Nocturnal Animals. Shannon embraces the role, fictional exaggerations and all. Finally, Dev Patel’s nuanced performance in Lion is uplifting and genuine. We continue to marvel at his skill and growth as an actor.
Just missing the top ten were John Goodman (12 Cloverfield Lane), Jeremy Renner (Arrival) and Chadwick Boseman (Captain America: Civil War).
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music