Welcome to the 17th annual edition of The Calvins, the signature update from Box Office Prophets! For far too many years now, our staff has pooled together our collective resources and opinions to come up with a list of our favorites from the previous year.
2018 Calvin Awards: Introduction
By David Mumpower
February 26, 2018
Over the years, more than 100 voters have provided their thoughts on the best and worst of cinema, television, and acting performances. Many of our categories are basic ones such as Best Picture and Best Director, but we have a few that are distinct as well. Best Scene, Best Character, and Best Breakthrough Performance aren’t ones that you’ll see at the Academy Awards.
Sometimes, our choices are predictable. We’ve lavished praise on Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad just as much as the rest of the internet. On other occasions, we’re way out on a limb. For example, we were way early on the Whale Rider bandwagon, long before Disney used it as an instructional guide for making Moana. Sometimes, we’re eclectic, such as when we celebrated the generally forgotten but still exceptional Murderball. On other occasions, we’re totally predictable, such as when this site comprised of Firefly fanatics selected Serenity for Best Picture. We are who we are, and we wear our minority opinions like a badge of honor.
The past year was a particularly challenging one for our staff. No, it didn’t have the tragic rash of celebrity deaths that we witnessed during 2016, but we did have a supervillain in the White House and a paucity of truly great movies in the theaters. Television was *great*, though. BOP’s collectively fallen in love with five programs and individually obsessed over at least three dozen more. While one show rises above the rest in our voting, we had a near-record number of distinct first place votes cast in the category.
Our voters faced new challenges this year. Netflix stepped out from its early days of film production. The Adam Sandler garbage productions were replaced by high-quality fare including a title with a $90 million budget. They’ve become a major player, with titles such as Mudbound winning awards and science fiction releases like Bright and What Happened to Monday satisfying a niche.
The BOP staff is currently participating in an internal discussion about how to evaluate movies from now on. Should Netflix exclusives be eligible for Best Picture? That answer is clearly yes. How about Best Overlooked Film? Well, that discussion’s a bit more nuanced. Like everyone else in the industry, we’re still feeling our way around in the face of cataclysmic change. The digital era has fundamentally altered movie consumption, and the old rules no longer seem like the right ones. Some of our voting demonstrates this confusion.
At the cinema, 2017 was a year of hallmark change in general. I’d be remiss not to mention the #Metoo movement, which revealed the shady underbelly of Hollywood. Several previous BOP faves will never be described as such ever again since we now know that they’re monsters. We did discover a new kind of heroism from many of their victims, though. We merely wish that they hadn’t had to suffer so much for us to appreciate them fully.
Fittingly, women dominated the entire film industry this year. The Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories were among the deepest and most competitive ever. Some women who received multiple first place votes didn’t manage a spot in the top ten. Historically, the studio system failed to write quality roles for women, but 2017 was arguably the first year ever where the ladies ran the house.
Overall, our opinion of 2017 was that it was a long overdue cleansing of old Hollywood ways. Many of the films and performances that we celebrate this year are unconventional. Some of them couldn’t have even gotten made just a few years ago. Conversely, we’re most likely to punish studios for predictable titles with lousy actors who are clearly phoning it in.
What I hope you’ll take from this year’s Calvins voting is that BOP hasn’t changed. We’re still the same group of stubbornly unconventional entertainment carnivores that we always were. What’s different is the nature of entertainment. When you read the selections, please filter them through that lens.
Without further ado, here are the 17th Annual Calvins Awards. We hope you love them just as we hope you realize how much BOP loves and appreciates you for your many years of loyalty to us. Without you, none of this is possible, So, we thank you!
2018 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
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