2018 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actor
By Kim Hollis
March 1, 2018
Although our winner took the category with a 14-point differential, only 27 points separated second and tenth place. That’s how competitive the Supporting Actor category was this year. In fact, in a couple of cases, we had to choose the Best Supporting Actor from two guys in the same movie! You’ll see what I mean as we get to the results.
Our Calvin Award for Best Supporting Actor goes to Sam Rockwell for his portrayal of a corrupt, racist, and kind of dumb cop named Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Throughout the movie, he plays hateful foil to the film’s heroine(?) Mildred. He’s a mama’s boy who seems to have inherited all her worst tendencies, and it’s not a very pretty picture that Rockwell paints. You want to call this performance an extreme exaggeration, but the sad reality is that there are people just like Dixon.
Our runner-up is the always-delightful Armie Hammer, who simply stole our hearts along with Elio’s in the indie romance Call Me by Your Name. He plays Oliver, a grad student who has been invited to live with Elio’s family for the summer and collaborate on some research. His portrayal is ebullient and joyous, which is important since Oliver is such a direct contrast to Elio, who is more introverted and thoughtful.
We have another supporting performer from Three Billboards in third place, as Woody Harrelson takes the spot for his empathetic portrayal of Sheriff Willoughby. He doesn’t have nearly the screen time of Rockwell or Frances McDormand, but the time the audience does spend with him packs a gut-punching wallop. He’s entirely believable as a man who clearly tries to do the right thing as a cop, but is simply frustrated due to lack of resources and leads.
Fourth place is a bit of a surprise (although perhaps not given the number of comic fanboys who voted), with Patrick Stewart earning the position for his return performance as Charles Xavier aka Professor X. This film is set in a distant future, and Charles is living under the care of Logan/Wolverine as the professor is suffering from dementia and other ailments. The dangerous byproduct of his maladies is that his seizures can cause great destruction. The loneliness of this character is heartbreaking, and Stewart helps us to imagine what happens to a superhero after all the accolades are long gone.
Rounding out the top five is Willem Dafoe for his superlative work in The Florida Project. In his role as Bobby Hicks, the manager of the Magic Castle Motel, Dafoe convinces us that he is caretaker of not only the motel, but also its residents. Even though he could look at his tenants as indigent and troublesome, he watches out for them. This is wonderfully exemplified in a scene where a strange man is wandering amongst the children who live at the hotel, and Bobby cajoles and threatens him until the man leaves.
Somehow, Michael Stuhlbarg manages to pick amazing projects. In 2017, he appeared in three films – and all three of those films were nominated for Academy Awards. (He was also in the TV series Fargo, which was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series.) Everyone ought to want him involved in their projects. Anyway, in the case of the Calvins, Stuhlbarg wins for Call Me by Your Name, where he portrays what has to be the most accepting and kind father in the history of cinema. Just know that when you watch the film, it will be a moment between Stuhlbarg and Timothee Chamalet that will keep you remembering it fondly.
A very different sort of performance takes eighth place. Paul Walter Hauser was the goofy, embellishing conspiracy theorist Shawn Eckhart in I, Tonya. A friend of Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and a sometimes bodyguard for the skater, Eckhart was the one who orchestrated the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Eckhart is simply perfect here – he just allows the character to consume him. Hopefully, this role will open some bigger doors for him as people take notice of his willingness to throw himself into the role.
We wrap up our top ten with two guys who were together in a Cabin in the Woods and an up-and-comer who we’re still just getting to know. Those first two are Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, but not for the same film (although there is a Bradley Whitford lookalike in Jenkins’ movie). Whitford takes the spot for the insidious Dean Armitage in Get Out, and it’s precisely his All-American Josh Lyman-ness that makes him so perfect for the role. For his part, Richard Jenkins is sympathetic and empathetic as neighbor and friend to main character Elisa.
Finally, Jason Mitchell makes our list for the second time in three years, this time for Mudbound. (Previously, he was selected for Straight Outta Compton.) If his recent track record is any indication, he’ll be winning this category at some point in the near future.
A few gentlemen just missed the cut this time around. They include Mark Rylance for Dunkirk, Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver, Steve Carell for Battle of the Sexes, Idris Elba for Molly's Game, and Bill Skarsgård (It).
2018 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
|| Sam Rockwell
||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
|| Armie Hammer
||Call Me By Your Name
|| Woody Harrelson
||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
|| Patrick Stewart
|| Willem Dafoe
||The Florida Project
|| Michael Stuhlbarg
||Call Me by Your Name
|| Paul Walter Hauser
|| Bradley Whitford
|| Richard Jenkins
||The Shape of Water
|| Jason Mitchell