2010 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actor

February 11, 2010

That's right. He's so evil that he's in with the tobacco companies, too.

For the fourth year in a row, our winner of the Calvin for Best Supporting Actor takes the prize in a walk. In recent voting, runaway winners have included Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men, and surprisingly, Michael Sheen for The Queen. Clearly, we know what we like when we vote for supporting actors, and it seems to be that we choose men who portray characters that practically steal the film out from under the lead performers.

By now, you've probably figured out that the Calvin for Best Supporting Actor goes to Christoph Waltz, for his portrayal of the despicable but utterly charismatic Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. Waltz dominates the screen whenever he is present, which is saying quite a bit considering the brilliance of the cast overall. We learn so much about his character just in the opening scene of the film. Landa proves to be polite, cunning, relentless and ruthless all in the span of a few moments. It seems impossible that he was effectively unknown in North America until Inlglourious Basterds, but his career trajectory is bound to change now. He's already set to play the villain in the upcoming Green Hornet.

Our second place finisher, Jackie Earle Haley, has come a long way since the Bad News Bears. His comeback began a few years ago as he received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for Little Children, which he was able to leverage into the plum role of Rorschach in Watchmen. He was perfect in the role, too, both in and out of the mask. He had the voice down pat, and the expressions on his face when he's in "Walter" mode are effectively exactly what one might have imagined while reading the graphic novel. Besides portraying Freddy Krueger in the upcoming reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Haley is also currently featured on the FOX series Human Target – and might be the best part of the show.


Next up is Anthony Mackie, who gave a strong performance in the celebrated Kathryn Bigelow film The Hurt Locker. You feel for his Sgt. Sanborn, as the young man and other members of his bomb disposal team are in extreme danger every single day. Yet, when he talks of killing the team leader who is putting them into these terrifying situations, not only do we not think he's a total bastard, but we actually think it's the right thing for him to do. It takes a talented actor to convince us those emotions are the proper ones.

Fourth place goes to Zach Galifianakis of The Hangover. His Alan Garner is a simple man who just wants to be included in the reindeer games of his friends (even if he is a wolfpack of one). He's naïve and innocent, and his lack of any innate street sense plays for a lot of laughs. He's never more aptly described than when Stu says, "Don't let the beard fool you! He's a child!" Yet, Alan is so well-meaning that you can't help but giggle at his ineptitude. This is a funny, funny, break-out role.

Our final top five finisher is Peter Capaldi, former lead singer of the punk rock band the Dreamboys, which included one Craig Ferguson as the drummer. He plays In the Loop's Malcolm Tucker, spin-doctor for the British Prime Minister and a nasty piece of work, at that. He swears so much in the film that Deadwood's Al Swearengen would be shamed, and is similarly terrifying as he threatens and intimidates while he tries to get his way. Capaldi is unforgettable in the role, and if you haven't seen the film yet, it's one of the funniest of the year.

Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) and Stanley Tucci (Julie & Julia) take the sixth and seventh spots. Harrelson was the tough-as-nails Tallahassee in the zombie-comedy-road flick, and does a nice job of giving the character some surprising layers. Throughout the movie, you think you know and understand Tallahassee, but there's something deeper that isn't revealed until late in the film, and it makes his motivations that much more compelling. For Tucci, he is effectively playing second banana to the larger-than-life Meryl Streep as Julia Child, but he's sweet and supportive as her husband Paul. Yet, you also get the sense that this is a man who also has a deeper life, with his political affiliations hinted at but never fully revealed.

Filling out the bottom three positions in the top ten are Brian Geraghty in The Hurt Locker, Stanley Tucci (again) in The Lovely Bones and Ed Helms for The Hangover. Geraghty plays Spc. Owen Eldridge, and does a really fine job of portraying a man who clearly admires both his teammates – the careless one as well as the more level-headed, responsible man – and is having trouble deciding which one's side to take. We admired Tucci for his work as the villain of The Lovely Bones, where he is creepy but somehow manages to humanize a character that might not have been all that well-written to start with. Finally, Ed Helms has been cracking us up for ages on The Office, but he takes it to a new level with The Hangover's Stu, a worrier who trays to play things straight, but finds himself caught up in the middle of some wacky hijinks and an accidental marriage.

Just missing out on the Supporting Actor top ten were Jason Schwartzman (Fantastic Mr. Fox), Peter Sarsgaard (An Education), Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), and Bob Peterson (the voice of Dug the Dog from Up). (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Album
Best 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 Videogame
Worst Performance
Worst Picture

Top 10
Position Actor Film Total Points
1 Christoph Waltz Inglourious Basterds 135
2 Jackie Earle Haley Watchmen 77
3 Anthony Mackie The Hurt Locker 74
4 Zach Galifianakis The Hangover 4
5 Peter Capaldi In the Loop 51
6 Woody Harrelson Zombieland 40
7 Stanley Tucci Julie & Julia 39
8 Brian Geraghty The Hurt Locker 30
9 Stanley Tucci The Lovely Bones 29
10 Ed Helms The Hangover 28



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