2016 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actress

By David Mumpower

February 25, 2016

I'd better win. I had to dress like this, after all.

The category of Best Supporting Actress is never easy to determine. So many quality roles for women blur the lines between lead and supporting, and a great deal of gamesmanship exists during awards season. Actresses campaign in the category where they feel they have the best chance of earning a nomination rather than the one that best fits the performance.

Rather than place arbitrary determinations on the appropriate placement for a role, our voting system gives the staff free reign to choose for themselves. Oftentimes, this is the best way to decide. This year, it wreaked havoc due to Alicia Vikander’s shocking ascension. Had people locked in on a couple of her performances, she would’ve won both Best Actress AND Best Supporting Actress. Instead, we wound up with a photo finish in each category.

Our winner this year owes everything to the reputation of Steve Jobs. Yes, the co-founder of Apple stands apart as a billionaire visionary. He was also quite the jerk, and everybody who worked with him knew it. That’s why the Sony movie about him is so divisive. It doesn’t shy away from the man’s crippling personality flaws. Legendary actress Kate Winslet is our choice for Best Supporting Actress this year due to her ability to highlight the difficulties of being one of Jobs’ most trusted advisors.


Winslet portrays Joanna Hoffman, the long-suffering marketing executive who worked on the original Macintosh team. The actual person once received a joke award from other Apple staff members for “the person who did the best job of standing up to” Jobs. The entire movie hinges on Winslet’s ability to talk sense into an extremely smart man oddly lacking in common sense. She’s the one who speaks up for the programmers, argues against her employer’s callous treatment of the mother of his child, and defends the daughter that Jobs constantly denies is his.

The genius of Hoffman as a character lies in her talent for translating the madness of Jobs for the benefit of others. She even functions as a soothsayer, uncovering the mystery of the entire NeXT project. Throughout all of these events, Winslet offers a master’s class in understated control. She shows precisely why a man as powerful as Steve Jobs would bow to the wisdom of Joanna Hoffman, even as he steamrolls over everyone else in his life. It’s a majestic performance that could just as easily stand in the lead acting category. Instead, Winslet has won the Golden Globe and BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress and, on a less important note, she’s also won The Calvin.

As mentioned above and in several different categories, this was Alicia Vikander’s year at The Calvins. She received more total votes than anybody else…and I mean ever. Due to the sheer volume of laudable performances, however, she winds up with the silver medal in the category. It’s yet another instance where her total votes were easily the most, but the splitting of commendations among them cost Vikander the title. Instead, she’ll have to settle for second place as a technicality with a lot of passionate support for every acting role she performed last year.

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