2017 Calvin Awards: Introduction
By David Mumpower
February 20, 2017

Gotta snack while you're claiming the land.

2016 sucked. Let’s be clear on the point right from the start. A historic, arguably unprecedented number of beloved celebrities died. Also, a troll successfully ran for the highest office in the land. It was the type of year that makes all of us question the existence of a benevolent deity while also casting sideways glances at the people nearby, questioning their innate decency.

Yes, 2016 was the type of year where people turn on one another. Thankfully, we largely avoid this sort of drama at BOP. The universe still threw a lot of unexpected problems at us, though. It was a bad year for movies, and the combination of a depressing year of news headlines combined with lackluster cinematic offerings reduced our passion for voting. The Calvins have existed for 16 years now. This was the first time that asking people to vote for their favorite (and least favorite) movies and performances felt like a job. We as a group do this because we love it, yet 2016 still took a toll.

Thankfully, the many wonderful staff members at BOP still came together in the end to celebrate everything that was good in Hollywood. And even during a bad year for movies, plenty of good still exists. If anything, we have a rare opportunity to cast a spotlight on deserving films even more than usual.

Of particular note this year is the category of Best Overlooked Film, as the quality of that top 10 almost matches that of the top 10 for Best Picture. In a year where major releases repeatedly disappointed, our staff unearthed a treasure trove of smaller, more ambitious features that held their own against titles with production budgets a factor of 20 larger. Since everybody loves an underdog, this particular monstrosity of a year still allowed for a lot of pleasant surprises.

While 2016 was terrible, and the losses of talented artists like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Garry Marshall, Anton Yelchin, Prince, and Carrie Fisher (and literally hundreds more) will sting for years to come, plenty of great things still happened over those 12 months. Our staff’s hope is that in perusing the 16th edition of The Calvins, you’ll appreciate how many great stories there were and how many unheralded movies and thespians ascended thanks to a vacuum caused by a terrible batch of releases from the studio system.

For those of you who are new to The Calvins, welcome! Here’s what you need to know. Over the past 16 years, more than 100 contributors have shared their thoughts on the finest motion pictures, television series, and acting performances as well as a few other signature categories. A handful of our voters have participated every year since the beginning while at least three people turned in their first ballots this year.

Independent of time served, our collective goal is to draw attention to the best of the best during a calendar year. Some of our most interesting selections are in our unique categories such as Best Scene and Best Character. We also choose more ambiguous winners such as Breakthrough Performance to highlight thespians we feel are about to ascend to new heights in the industry. Prior winners in this group include Dev Patel, currently nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, Christoph Waltz, a two-time Academy Awards winner, and Hailee Steinfeld, who almost reached the top 10 with her first single, Starving. Make of all that what you will.

Perhaps the most novel aspect of our voting process is that nobody involved with the staff has any idea how events will play out. To wit, I founded BOP and get to watch the live scoring updates. Even I am mystified at times as I watch the voting results. One of the staff’s selections for Best Supporting Actress is someone I chose in the top five for Worst Performance, and that’s not even unusual here.

Some of our internal arguments about performances and film quality would seem like intense flame wars to outsiders, but that’s just how we talk here. Anyone who can’t make a defensible argument isn’t long for BOP. Also, everyone’s vote counts the same whether they were here from the start or just arrived last month. So, the results are always amorphous since our contributors fade in and out each year.

In terms of our 2017 results, we have what I would describe as huge upsets in Best Television Show and Best Cast, a dominant showing in Best Character, a total smackdown of DC Comics in Worst Performance, and a quartet of films that sweep most of the major categories this year.

2017 Calvin Awards
Calvins Intro
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cast
Best Character
Best Director
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Breakthrough Performance
Worst Performance
Worst Picture

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