2016 Calvin Awards: Introduction
By David Mumpower
February 22, 2016
Hello, and welcome to our 15th annual entertainment awards. We are the Box Office Prophets, and this is our signature update, The Calvins!
Wait, did that say 15 years? Good lord, we’re old. Anyway, if you’ve somehow missed the first 14 of these, here’s what you need to know. The Calvins reflect the voting of a staff that has had over 100 members through the years. Some of the people who voted this time have done so every year, while a couple cast their first ballots.
Independent of the experience of the voters, the outcome is still the same. Box Office Prophets caters to an eclectic group of entertainment fans. Some of you love the loud noises and shiny things, which means you loooooove Michael Bay. Others favor independent films, preferably documentaries with subtitles and the more inscrutable, the better. Our staff includes the same composition. Some of us have worked for or even run major independent film festivals while others only watch movies featuring people in capes and/or wielding light sabers. It talks all kinds, and we’re proud to represent populism and the Dennis Miller Quotient in fairly equal parts.
Due to our unlikely voter composition, our group is always as interested in finding out who won as you, the readers, are. In fact, I frequently get texts from current and former contributors indicating frustrations such as, “I’ll be furious if Movie X doesn’t win for Category Z.” Actual campaigning goes on both publicly and privately. I’m insanely proud of how passionate our staff members are about The Calvins, and I believe that’s reflected in the outcomes each year.
The 15th annual Calvins are no different. Several of the results are surprising. As an example, Best Picture had a dominant leader throughout the early voting. Then, thanks to a stunning showing of support for a pair of other titles, what had seemed like a foregone conclusion turned into a Bronze Medal. Similarly, a trio of films with deep casts proved so divisive to our cast that the Best Actress/Actor and Best Supporting Actress/Actor categories required multiple recalculations to determine the eventual winners.
What’s great about our awards is that we also offer a couple of unusual categories. My favorite of these is Best Character. We added it specifically to recognize that sometimes a character is so engaging that they supersede the film in which they appear. Sometimes, the choice is obvious, such as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. In other instances, a film some of our staff actively despises can still create a character so memorable that they vote for him anyway. I specifically reference Alien from Spring Breakers in this example.
Last year’s winner, Monsieur Gustave H, while a worthy choice for his constant optimism, robust skillset and shameless gold digging, probably wouldn’t have earned a spot in the top three this year. The voting in this category was brutally competitive, which speaks to our staff’s passion for the concept.
We also offer a special category to laud breathtaking cinematic moments. Even when movies as a whole fall apart, they’re capable of containing instances of brilliance. That’s precisely why Best Scene has proven to be so competitive over the years. The last three years, we’ve celebrated the sublime with the opening sequence of Gravity, the theoretically mundane yet somehow overwhelming with the drum solo at the end of Whiplash, and the silliness of cartoon violence with the magic words, “Puny God!”
Historically, Best Scene has proven itself as one of the most rewarding categories for our staff. They get to laud films that would otherwise have no recognition during awards season. This explains why BOP contributors have selected over 50 scenes each of the past few years. The current competition was particularly brutal as 14 scenes from 13 different films all offered sequences our staff found noteworthy. The results were so close that a single ballot meant the difference between first and third place.
In terms of voters, we tied last year’s record total. We again had several categories come down to the last ballot, including Best Picture. So, after that never happened during the first 13 years, it’s now occurred twice in a row. Overall, this year’s results are again surprising, albeit not as openly shocking as some of last year’s outcomes. What’s clear in examining the results is that our staff considered half a dozen movies better than everything else this year. The trick was in picking which ones did the best job in which categories.
To a larger point, the past 12 months were once again a hallmark year for entertainment. We’re living in the golden era of television, and the film industry has improved its overall quality by focusing more on a smaller number of films. This attention to detail is reflected in the Worst categories, where the bottom of the ranks isn’t nearly as bad as it was only a few years ago. Better yet, virtually all of the major awards contenders this year deserved their lofty reputations. Simply stated, it was a wonderful year, and BOP is proud to present our selections for the 15th Annual The Calvins.
2016 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
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