2014 Calvin Awards: Best Cast

By Kim Hollis

February 11, 2014

Mr. Fassbender's being creepy again!

With two pivotal performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club is rightfully drawing attention. McConaughey did more than just lose a bunch of weight, infusing Ron Woodroof with a devil-may-care attitude that shifts to something much more human when he begins obtaining medicine for fellow suffers of AIDS. Leto is Woodroof’s sympathetic partner in crime, giving a tragic air to Rayon, a transgendered woman who also suffers from the disease. Jennifer Garner provides the everywoman character in a doctor who helps them both, while Steve Zahn is a rodeo cohort from Woodroof’s former life struggling to deal with the implications of AIDS. Griffin Dunne is also onboard as a wry physician working in a Mexican hospital.

The Way, Way Back is a pleasant surprise that wasn’t seen by nearly enough people, which is a shame because they missed a breakthrough performance by Liam James, who plays a teenager struggling to find his place in an unfamiliar vacation town. Sam Rockwell gives what may be the performance of the year as a manager of a local water park who takes the kid under his wing. Steve Carell is a jerk, Toni Collette is a scattered parent and AnnaSophia Robb is the “girl next door.” Writers/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash are also on hand as fellow workers at the water park, and the combination of talent in the film makes for a delightful experience.

What’s interesting about Nebraska is the fact that the majority of its performers are senior citizens. The film features a strong centering performance from Will Forte as the son of an elderly man who is convinced he’s won a million dollars. When the two of them journey to Lincoln, NE to “collect” the winnings, they encounter any number of misadventures. It’s surely a different kind of road movie, but along with Forte, Bruce Dern is almost painful in his role as a man losing touch with reality. June Squibb deserves every accolade she’s received for the film, and other actors such as Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk and Angela McEwan are memorable as well.


It’s almost unfair to reward This Is the End considering that the actors in the film are just playing (extremely) exaggerated versions of themselves, but to be able to do so with such comic effect deserves praise. Danny McBride may be the funniest of the bunch, but Jonah Hill, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Channing Tatum all have hilarious moments. And an ax-toting Emma Watson is pretty badass, too.

Another teenage, coming-of-age film slots in at number nine, as we laud The Spectacular Now primarily for the combination of gut-punching performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in the central roles. Brie Larson is sympathetic in a tough role where she could have come off as simply bitchy, while Kyle Chandler goes against type as a damaged absent parent. Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is tragic in a tiny role.

Our final selection is Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which boasts a star-studded cast. As the titular character, Forest Whitaker leads us through the Forest Gump-esque story, and the plot rests comfortably on his shoulders. Oprah Winfrey is his conflicted wife, and David Oyelowo is his activist, progressive son. Presidential actors include John Cusack, Robin Williams, James Marsden and Alan Rickman, and Cuba Gooding Jr. is one of the film’s underrated players as a fellow butler.

Films that barely missed the cut were Rush, August: Osage County and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

2014 Calvin Awards
Calvins Intro
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Album
Best Cast
Best Character
Best Director
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Best Videogame
Breakthrough Performance
Worst Performance
Worst Picture

Top 10
Position Film Total Points
1 12 Years a Slave 103
2 Wolf of Wall Street, The 93
3 American Hustle 71
4 The World's End 62
5 Dallas Buyers Club 52
6 The Way Way Back 48
7 Nebraska 44
8 This is the End 42
9 The Spectacular Now 41
10 Lee Daniel's The Butler 36

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