2011 Calvin Awards: Best Actor

February 17, 2011

This one's for all eight female BOP readers!

All of our acting categories were extremely deep this year, with plenty of exceptional options from which to choose. Perhaps nowhere was this more evident than in the Best Actor category, as our top four candidates all received in excess of 100 points. Clearly, each one of these men had plenty of support from a wide variety of our voters, and the voting was tight – they were separated by a total of only 26 points from first place to fourth place. Yet, the was an obvious divide between the top four and the rest of the pack, as the numbers drop off pretty severely from there.

Our Calvin for Best Actor goes to Colin Firth, which means that all of the women who read this site can jump for joy. Anyway, I know I was rejoicing, as I’ve been a huge fan of the actor since I saw him for the first time ever as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC mini-series Pride and Prejudice (okay, I saw it in 1996, when it aired on A&E). Since that career-making role, Firth has also appeared in such films as Fever Pitch (the original one about soccer, not the US remake), The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, Mamma Mia! and A Christmas Carol. It was last year when he finally received real awards heat as he was nominated for an Academy Award for A Single Man, though he lost to Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart). This year, Firth reigns victorious for his portrayal of King George VI, who ascended to the throne when his brother abdicated and had to struggle with a speech impediment that was all the more impacting in an age where radio speeches were growing in popularity and importance.


In The King’s Speech, Firth accepts that he’s not always going to look handsome, and his facial tics are such that one might believe he truly had been contending with a stutter for his entire life. He is angry, vulnerable, and sympathetic, and although it would have been easy for him to play the role as a champion who overcomes all odds, instead we see a man who is very human, with complex emotions and who really doesn’t necessarily want to be heroic. He just wants to serve his nation to the best of his ability…or most of the time he does, anyway. Up next for Firth is a mysterious role in Tomas Alfredson’s (Let the Right One In) Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, alongside Gary Oldman and Inception’s Tom Hardy. He received eight first place votes in this category, twice as his closest competitor.

And…that closest competitor is Jeff Bridges, the man who beat Firth last year for the Academy Award. Bridges had an incredibly difficult task in front of him when he took on the iconic role of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit – a role that won John Wayne an Academy Award more than 40 years ago. Unintimidated, Bridges took the role and made it his own. You can almost smell the booze oozing from the character as you watch the film, and is grunts and growls are all delivered with perfection. What’s more, Bridges’ Cogburn is funny, though we’re not laughing at him when his worst qualities are shining through, but rather with him as he delivers sly lines with a wink and a nod. In the past couple of years, Bridges has played Rooster Cogburn, Obadiah Stane, Bad Blake and reprised Tron’s Flynn. Since the Coens have shot down any chance of a Lebowski sequel, we’ll next have to be satisfied to see Bridges take the role of Spook in The Seventh Son, an adaptation of the bestselling book series The Last Apprentice.

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