2013 Calvin Awards: Best Cast
By Kim Hollis
February 19, 2013
Choosing the winner of Best Cast presents its own set of challenges. Sure, there may be a single standout performance in a film, but for us to award the Calvin for Best Cast, an entire group of people has to show cohesion and chemistry. It's not that easy to pull off, but our top ten finishers in this category are all exemplary examples of how a great group of actors can come together to provide a unique and memorable movie-going experience.
Our winner in this category is Silver Linings Playbook, and this is truly an example of a film where every single performer, from the smallest role to the key parts, stands out as impressive. Bradley Cooper has never been better, and Jennifer Lawrence continues to prove that she is one of the most talented rising young stars today. As for the major supporting roles, Robert De Niro finally reminds us of why we all thought he was so fantastic in the first place, while Jacki Weaver comes in with a solid follow-up to her previous Academy Award nominated role in Animal Kingdom. Other critical roles belong to Chris Tucker, who is immensely likable in a limited appearance and Anupam Kher (a surprisingly relatable psychiatrist). We invest in these characters because this group is working so hard to invoke our passion.
This race wasn't a runaway, though, because Django Unchained finished not far behind in second place. A tour de force where a ridiculously talented cast is able to chew scenery without being over the top in a bad way, this group is anchored by Jamie Foxx as Django. His performance is actually quite subtle, as his reserved take on the character allows other, brasher roles to take center stage. Christoph Waltz should pretty much do everything Quentin Tarantino ever creates, because the director clearly has a propensity for writing roles for the talented Austrian. On the other hand, it's the first time Tarantino has ever worked with Leonardo DiCaprio and he fit his part like a soft kidskin glove. Samuel L. Jackson is practically unrecognizable as a loyal-to-a-fault senior house slave, while Kerry Washington has some terrific line delivery near the end of the film.
Just barely behind Django is 2012's biggest box office success, The Avengers. Look, let's be honest. This film could easily have been a disaster. Basically, it brings together a bunch of heroes who, for the most part, have been mostly unknown to the majority of movie-goers until Marvel started releasing standalone movies featuring them individually (including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and a couple of Hulk projects). Somehow, this group of actors has come together to deliver a truly delightful film experience. The repartee is natural, the villain (Tom Hiddleston's Loki) is far better than he was in his first film, and a lovable supporting player (Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson) captures the comic book nerd hiding deep inside every one of us. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and continued to build on already established characters, while Jeremy Renner brings Hawkeye to life. And of course, we'd be remiss to omit Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Hulk, because at long last, that character is exactly what we'd always hoped he would be.