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2017 Calvin Awards: Breakthrough Performance

By Kim Hollis

February 22, 2017

Now you know why I'm Han Solo, don't you?



One of Hedges’ competitors for the Supporting Actor Award, Mahershala Ali, takes fourth place for his performance in Moonlight. Ali appears in the film only briefly (he’s a crucial influence on the main character during the first act), but he certainly leaves an impression as Juan, a crack dealer from youthful main character Chiron’s neighborhood. Juan encourages Chiron to find his own way in life and not worry about what bullies think. Ali is sympathetic in the role – it’s easy to see how Chiron would see him as a counselor even as the man is dealing drugs to his mother. (I’d also note that Ali appeared in Hidden Figures as well, and made a strong impression in that film as well).

Ruth Negga has been appearing in a lot of smaller scale films for years, and a number of us on the BOP staff grew to appreciate her talent when she appeared on the television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But it was 2016 that enabled her to make a big leap, even if it was still in an indie release that made less than $8 million at the box office. In Loving, she portrays Mildred Loving, a black woman who falls in love with and marries a white man in violation of the 1950s anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia. The couple takes their case to the Supreme Court, where it is ruled that such discriminatory marriage laws are unconstitutional. Negga’s simple, powerful performance is a large part of what allows the film to resonate as it does.

Next up in sixth and seventh place are a newcomer to an established superhero franchise and our second entrant from Moonlight. We’ve seen a couple of iterations of Spider-Man over the past decade and a half, but we may have finally found the one who really embodies the role. Sony and Disney finally came to an agreement on allowing the character to appear in the Avengers films, and what a debut he had. Tom Holland was funny, quippy, awkward, and what we’ve always imagined Spider-Man to be. This bodes well for Homecoming.




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Trevante Rhodes played the adult Chiron in Moonlight, and he was a striking, impressive figure on the screen. He’s able to portray all of the complex sides of this character, from toughness to forgiveness and finally tenderness and vulnerability. You believe the man was once the boy we saw growing up in the first two acts.

A trio of women round out our top ten selections. We already knew that Janelle Monae was a talented singer/songwriter, but now she’s proven to be a stellar actress as well. We recognize her here for her work in Hidden Figures, but she could just as easily have been selected for her supporting role in Moonlight. She’s a delight in both films, and we look forward to seeing what she does next. Our next performer is only 23, but has been working in British television for several years. With her performance in Sing Street, Lucy Boynton elevated the role of “the girl” that could have been all too cliche and made it delightful. Finally, Angourie Rice might have just been written off as another kid actor who ruins a movie, but instead she was a revelation in The Nice Guy, a perfect foil for both Ryan Gosling, who plays her father, and Russell Crowe.

Just missing the top ten (by a matter of a point or two) were Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street), Don’t Breathe’s Jane Levy and Alison Sudol (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).

Calvins Intro
Best Actor
Best Actress
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
Breakthrough Performance
Worst Performance
Worst Picture



Top 10
Position Person Film Total Points
1 Alden Ehrenreich Hail, Caesar! 70
2 Anya Taylor-Joy The Witch 52
3 Lucas Hedges Manchester by the Sea 48
4 Mahershala Ali Moonlight 42
5 Ruth Negga Loving 41
6 Tom Holland Captain America: Civil War 40
7 Trevante Rhodes Moonlight 39
8 Janelle Monae Hidden Figures 38
9 Lucy Boynton Sing Street 35
10 Angourie Rice The Nice Guys 32




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