2008 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actor

February 21, 2008

Make fun of my hair and I'll kill you.

It wasn't even a close race in the Supporting Actor category this year, and barring something really strange happening, we expect the same result on Oscar night. Our winner in the category is Javier Bardem, who was nothing short of chilling as he portrayed what is sure to be remembered as one of the great movie villains of all-time in Anton Chigurh. He's a killer who is so determined to follow through with his dark ideals that it is nearly impossible to stop him. In fact, he's almost terminator-like in his dedication to his cause. Even when showing brief flickers of humanity, they are quickly masked as he swallows his doubts about the righteousness of what he is doing. It's a bravura performance and one that won Bardem this category by a stunning 32 points.

Second place goes to another fantastic actor who in any other year would be a strong candidate for the win. Tom Wilkinson had to play crazy but correct in Michael Clayton, and that is surely a fine and difficult line to walk. His interpretation of the character gives us a man who is clearly off his meds, but even so, he is actually seeing the real-world with more clarity and justice. His Arthur Edens is a tragic soul, literally in such scary love with the woman he is supposed to be destroying that he loses his own soul. Wilkinson sadly lost out on an Oscar for In the Bedroom in a performance that I believe was one of the best of the last decade, and it doesn't appear that his luck is going to change this time around despite his second nomination.

Our winner in the Best Actor category two years ago comes in third place in Supporting Actor this time around. David Strathairn is the perfect foil for Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum. He is relentless and amoral to a substantial degree, making him a particularly dangerous adversary. The best part, of course, is that he completes all of his machinations from behind a desk. He sends out other men to do his dirty work. Given how much we liked him as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck, it's a credit to him that he could make Deputy Director Noah Vosen such a weasel-like scum.


Fourth place belongs Mark Ruffalo and his world-weary police detective in Zodiac, while fifth place is awarded to Paul Dano for his turn in There Will Be Blood. He's a man assigned to a terrible case that follows him over the years, and we see its effects on his life and career through time. Dano placed seventh in this category last year for his role in Little Miss Sunshine, so at this rate, he will be our winner by 2010. In There Will Be Blood, he plays Eli Sunday, a preacher who is passionate about his faith but who has a very calm, deliberate demeanor on the outside. He's a fine foil for Daniel Day-Lewis, who has dominated awards season in the Best Actor category.

Waitress's Andy Griffith and Zodiac's Robert Downey Jr. finish sixth and seventh, respectively. Griffith is clearly a bit of a sentimental favorite, but even so, his portrayal of a grumpy, difficult-to-serve café owner feels mighty real. He's one of those curmudgeons you can't help but love. Downey Jr. is his typical fantastic self as newspaperman Paul Avery, a man whose involvement in the Zodiac case sends him on a downward spiral. We can't imagine where he gets his inspiration for that sort of thing.

Our final selections in the top ten are Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War, as well as Jason Bateman and J.K. Simmons in Juno. Hoffman, always a spectacular performer, is rightfully receiving accolades for his portrayal of Gust Avrakotos. Considering that he's surrounded by a host of Oscar winners and nominees, the fact that he steals the show is impressive. Bateman is always solid, but it's the fact that his character surprises us from being someone very different than expected that makes his performance so notable. And Simmons is someone we have truly loved in a variety of roles, but he really stood out as Juno's father, a man suddenly faced with the prospect that his teenage daughter is pregnant. He plays the role with humor and believable emotion, and is probably an underrated performer of 2007.

Actors who barely missed the top ten include Peter O'Toole, for his voice work in Ratatouille, Hot Fuzz's Nick Frost and Superbad's Jonah Hill. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Album
Breakthrough Performance
Best Cast
Best Director
Best DVD
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Best Video Game
Worst Performance
Worst Picture
Top 10
Position Actor Film Total Points
1 Javier Bardem No Country for Old Men 76
2 Tom Wilkinson Michael Clayton 44
3 David Strathairn Bourne Ultimatum 32
4 Mark Ruffalo Zodiac 31
5(tie) Paul Dano There Will Be Blood 26
5(tie) Andy Griffith Waitress 26
7 Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac 25
8 Philip Seymour Hoffman Charlie Wilson's War 22
9 Jason Bateman Juno 20
10 J.K. Simmons Juno 19



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