2018 Calvin Awards: Best Cast
By Kim Hollis
February 27, 2018
Like the Screen Actors Guild, we like to recognize the accomplishments of the entire cast for a film. Often, you can have a singular good performance or two, but it’s truly those films where an entire cast comes together to create something special that deserve extra recognition.
Our top spot takes the Calvin by virtue of its wealth of riches with regards to performers. The Post features an incredible ensemble cast led by Meryl Streep as Washington Post owner Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as Post editor Ben Bradlee. Although the two of them get most of the kudos, the film relies heavily on its entire cast to deliver its message about the importance of a free press.
The newsroom team consists of people played by the great Bob Oedenkirk, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Pat Healy and John Rue. Graham’s consultants/lawyers/board members are portrayed by Bradley Whitford, Tracy Letts, and Jesse Plemons. Sarah Paulson and Alison Brie play family members of Bradlee and Graham, while Matthew Rhys and Michael Stuhlbarg also have important roles to play. As you can see, this cast is fantastic top to bottom, and every actor seemed perfectly suited to their role.
Second place, then, goes to current Academy Award for Best Picture frontrunner Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This story is comprised of so many unique characters that the actors who would portray them had to be truly exceptional. Leading the way, of course, is Frances McDormand, whose bitterness and anger come through in her Mildred. Sam Rockwell, one of the more likable stars in Hollywood, is outstanding as a hateful, racist and corrupt police officer. Woody Harrelson’s Sheriff Willoughby is complex in that he’s a good man who gets frustrated by Mildred’s actions. Also playing important roles are Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Sandy Martin, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters and Abbie Cornish.
Up next in third is the stellar cast for I, Tonya. Obviously, the bulk of the attention for this film has gone to Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, who are both nominated for Academy Awards, and indeed both women are striking in their portrayals of these real-life characters. But the film would not succeed without the presence of supporting players like Sebastian Stan, who plays Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, Julianne Nicholson as Harding’s coach, Bobby Cannavale as a TV producer (and our semi-narrator), and best of all, Paul Walter Hauser, who is revelatory as Shawn Eckert, Harding’s bodyguard and friend to Gillooly. They’ll make you laugh, and they’ll make you a little bit sick that you’re laughing.
Get Out is our fourth place selection thanks to a super lead performance from Daniel Kaluuya, who plays protagonist Chris Washington. His character gets into a… situation involving his girlfriend’s family, portrayed by Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, and Caleb Landry Jones (the latter two of whom are making their second appearance on this list). Stephen Root is perfect in his role (but to say much about it would be spoileriffic), while Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rey Howery, Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson also play crucial roles.
Our final film in the top five is Dunkirk, which does indeed need top-notch performance from an eclectic group of players to deliver a taut, suspenseful war movie. Dunkirk is the rare film that has no true lead actor. Instead, we move from story to story amongst the various characters, seeing bits and pieces of the stranded military men and the dogfighters and civilians who help to liberate them. Fionn Whitehead is a new face, but he does a great job as the shell-shocked young military man. Kenneth Branagh is Commander Bolton, who must try to ensure that his troops survive. Heading up the team of fighter pilots is Tom Hardy, who is always impressive. Then we have Mark Rylance as a civilian helping to save the soldiers, and Cillian Murphy, who proves to be a disruptive and destructive presence. Even One Direction’s Harry Styles turns in admirable work.
Sixth and seventh place go to two films that factor into this year’s Oscar races for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. Lady Bird hinges on the central performance from Saoirse Ronan, of course, but she’s got a fabulous cast backing her up. Laurie Metcalf gives one of the finer performances of her career (amongst a number of great ones), while Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chamalet represent the up-and-comers. Tracy Letts is an amiable addition as well.
The Shape of Water gets most of its attention for its admittedly fantastic acting turns from Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer, but the film also heavily relies on a delightful Richard Jenkins, a villainous Michael Shannon and the uber-present Michael Stuhlbarg.
Our top ten closes out with a blockbuster, a tiny indie film, and something that appears indie but actually performed quite well at the box office. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has a massive, formidable cast. It’s almost impossible to even pick out the highlights, but we’ll just go ahead and recognize Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. The small indie film is Call Me By Your Name, which features a breakthrough performance for Timothee Chamalet. Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, and Esther Garrel all shine as well. Ansel Elgort leads the cast of Baby Driver, which features some bonkers performances from Lily James, Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal and Flea.
Movies that just missed the top ten include Battle of the Sexes, The Big Sick, Detroit, Mudbound, and Logan Lucky.
2018 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
||Shape of Water, The
||Star Wars: The Last Jedi
||Call Me By Your Name