2018 Calvin Awards: Best Actor

By Reagen Sulewski

March 1, 2018

Excuse me while I stink up the place with my cigar.

The narrowest possible margin decided our Best Actor race this year, in a contest between a grizzled (yet rarely honored!) veteran of the acting world and a fresh-to-most-of-the-world newcomer. Some old favourites make a return as well, and a number of roles that draw things to a conclusion.

Gary Oldman's uncanny rendering of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour captures our top spot, a tour de force that he uses to lift up the movie on his back and carry it through. Known for his disappearing acts, he dives into the great British prime minister with all he can muster. Capturing his electrifying manner, his leadership, his charisma, Oldman also shows him with his own doubts amidst his crucial tenure in the worst times of World War II. And not for nothing, but it enlivens an otherwise quite ordinary film, and makes him the unofficial MVP of 2017 film.

A very very close second goes to Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, as the protagonist Chris. Having to navigate the world of upper class white suburbia, only to find out there's something even more sinister than he could have imagined going on, Kaluuya does an amazing amount of acting with his eyes, holding fast against slights and suspicions until his very humanity is threatened. Getting the audience to empathize with him completely, you feel every bit of Chris' agony and desperation.

In what may be his final performance, Daniel Day-Lewis places third for Phantom Thread. It's not one of the bombastic performances he's often heralded for, but rather a portrayal of obsession and smouldering ego. Mimicking the creative process with the tensions of sexual psychodrama, Day-Lewis is simply riveting. If it's how he goes out, well, he went out on top.

While he's not retiring from acting, Hugh Jackman is pointedly saying goodbye to his signature role of Wolverine, and lands in fourth place with his last portrayal of it in Logan. An aged, worn-down version of the character, world-weary from all his battles and losing everyone he cares about, Jackman takes the comic book material and creates a true character, paying off decades of film.




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On the opposite end of things is Timothée Chalamet as the lead in Call Me By Your Name. Playing the naif is fraught with difficulty, but Chalamet finds the best notes in a revelatory performance in this coming of age drama.

Sixth place goes to another long time favorite, Tom Hanks in The Post. While not as flashy as some of his more lauded roles, the gruff moral center of the film he plays goes against his often ebullient characters and helps create the stakes of the film.

James Franco lands in seventh for his lead role in The Disaster Artist. Inhabiting the profoundly strange Tommy Wiseau, he may not give us a great insight into how the man ticks, because who could, but at least gives an appreciation that we can still have such characters in the world.

Eighth place goes to another person leaving a role, as Andy Serkis says so long to .the role of Caesar the Ape after three films. Wrenching a soulful performance out of just body language and a handful of words, it's the culmination of some amazing work.

It's the yin and yang of Cruise, as Tom lands on both our Worst and Best lists this year, here grabbing ninth for American Made. Playing a hustler in over his head, Cruise is spectacular at showing us the 17 different scenarios going on his head at once.

Lastly, we have Jeremy Renner in Wind River. As the mournful tracker investigating the murder of his daughter's friend, Renner finds depths in his sorrow and as a man striving for justice, whatever form that may take.

2018 Calvin Awards
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 Actor Film Total Points
1 Gary Oldman Darkest Hour 118
2 Daniel Kaluuya Get Out 117
3 Daniel Day-Lewis Phantom Thread 82
4 Hugh Jackman Logan 65
5 Timothée Chalamet Call Me By Your Name 64
6 Tom Hanks The Post 45
7 James Franco The Disaster Artist 34
8 Andy Serkis War for the Planet of the Apes 33
9 Tom Cruise American Made 31
10 Jeremy Renner Wind River 28




     


 
 

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