2015 Calvin Awards: Best Character

By David Mumpower

February 10, 2015

Don't let the silly appearance fool you. He tried to kill Harry Potter.

Since its inception in 2011, the Best Character Award has been one of our most beloved and contentious categories. Debates start early and extend well past the voting deadline. Previous winners include successful (hack) artist Thierry Guetta from Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Driver from Drive, Katniss from The Hunger Games, and Alien from Spring Breakers.

Historically, this has been a hotly contested category with the exception of last year when Alien torched the competition. Tough break, Elsa from Frozen, I’m sure you’ll be okay in time. The most recent year is back to the normal behavior of half a dozen characters remaining in competition until the very end. Eventually, we collectively settled upon the splashy choice, Monsieur Gustave H.

In addition to being the concierge at the world famous Grand Budapest Hotel, Gustave is a collector of the finer things in life, many of which he acquires by, ahem, seducing elderly heiresses who are only a few years if not months away from their deathbed. It’s an ugly job, but some professional must provide this service. Gustave relishes it to the point of fetishism yet he still finds time to act as a mentor to protégé Zero, a bellhop whose family was summarily executed during a time of war.


Gustave teaches the boy how to behave like a gentleman and even offers a few ruminations on the art of seduction. Even after he is imprisoned, Gustave somehow manages to tutor on the art of avoiding a reputation as a candy-ass. It’s a larger than life character with the type of pomposity that has been a hallmark of director Wes Anderson’s career. Gustave is a true delight and definitely the rightful choice as Best Character of the year.

Narrowly losing in the category but still finishing strongly in second place is Terrence Fletcher. The driven music instructor from Whiplash is hard to love, because he is a total jerk. Seriously, Bill Belichick thinks Fletcher needs to be a bit nicer to people. What Fletcher does accomplish is molding the most naturally gifted musicians at Shaffer Conservatory into the best musicians in the world. Sometimes, he goes too far, which is why his teaching comes with a body count, but his drive as well as his sheer force of will make him one of the most believable trainers in the history of cinema. J.K. Simmons is in line to win an Academy Award for his performance, and our staff agrees that, warts and all, Terrence Fletcher is a mesmerizing character.

He wants to be called Star-Lord, because that sounds more majestic and even a bit cosmic. Alas, you know him as Peter Quill, a self-professed Guardian of the Galaxy. Suffice to say that Quill is a bit damaged yet his heart is in the right place. Think of him as an intergalactic Indiana Jones, except that he has a tendency to keep the various treasures he discovers. Chris Pratt just had a career-making year by starring in the one bona fide new hit of 2014. His performance as a hero hidden in a cloak of thievery won the hearts of movie lovers across the globe. Our staff was no different, and even though he probably needs some dance lessons, we are all too happy to name Star-Lord as the third Best Character of the year.

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