2018 Calvin Awards: Best Director

By Kim Hollis

March 2, 2018

Go over there. It's where the Orient Express is.

Two directors duked it out for the Calvin Award this year, with the winner taking it home by only two votes. Christopher Nolan crafted a war movie told three ways, with no one actor taking the forefront. One of his more straightforward works, the film is dedicated to showing the events that unfolded as men were stranded in Dunkirk, and the many heroes who tried to help.

Some fun facts about Christopher Nolan: he is now a two-time winner of the Calvin Awards, having taken the prize previously for helming The Dark Knight. Nolan was also runner-up for Inception, took fourth place for Interstellar, and was our fifth place choice for Batman Begins. Clearly, BOP is full of Christopher Nolan fans.

The runner-up for the Best Director category is one Jordan Peele, who actually made his directorial effort in 2017 with Get Out. A horror/satire/thriller, this genre-defying movie explored deeply held racism, the kind that is so latent that well-intentioned people don’t even realize they have it. Everything comes together for a taut, exciting 104 minutes that will leave you gripping your armrest with tension.

Guillermo del Toro finishes in third place for his lovely, ethereal direction of the fairy tale story The Shape of Water. This film puts del Toro at the top of his game, with creativity brimming from the edges. All of the pieces come together perfectly, from the acting to the cinematography to the set design, and it is del Toro’s pulling the whole thing together that makes it work.

Fourth place goes to Greta Gerwig for her coming-of-age story Lady Bird, which doesn’t idealize being a teenager, but rather gives us a realistic, down-to-earth tale of a girl who is sometimes hard to like. Even though this genre has been well covered in years past, Gerwig’s perspective feels fresh and new.


It’s a tough challenge to pull together the sequel of a beloved science fiction film, particularly when you’re not the person responsible for the original movie. Denis Villeneuve was more than up to the challenge with Blade Runner 2049, a stylish film that honors its predecessor even as it expands the world that Ridley Scott created decades ago.

We are always total suckers for Edgar Wright’s films, and Baby Driver is no exception. This stylish project moves along at a steady clip, blending music, humor and a wildly entertaining heist plotline to keep audiences riveted. The opening sequence alone could be worthy of accolades.

Seventh place goes to Luca Guadagnino for his own coming-of-age movie Call Me by Your Name. Erotic and timeless, the film brings the era of the early 1980s to life as it sensitively takes us through the romance between Elio and Oliver. The movie has a lush, dreamy quality that entrances the audience and keeps them captivated.

We round out the top ten with a woman taking on her first big budget project and two seasoned veterans of the industry. Patty Jenkins had really only directed one feature-length film prior to Wonder Woman, though it did get significant positive attention. That film was Monster, and it doesn’t bear much similarity to the glowingly positive comic book flick. Jenkins’ wonderful work made DC cool again, even if that honeymoon only lasted until November with the release of Justice League. Ninth place belongs to Steven Spielberg for his fast-paced The Post, a fabulous film that reveres the right to a free press and the people who make it happen. And then we close it out with Paul Thomas Anderson, whose dark romance Phantom Thread is just spellbinding. It’s an absolutely gorgeous dark romance, full of beautiful costumes and people. It’s a twisty story that only Anderson could create.

Other directors who just missed the top ten include Dee Rees (Mudbound), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), and Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

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 Director Film Total Points
1 Christopher Nolan Dunkirk 118
2 Jordan Peele Get Out 116
3 Guillermo del Toro The Shape of Water 79
4 Greta Gerwig Lady Bird 72
5 Denis Villeneuve Blade Runner 2049 69
6 Edgar Wright Baby Driver 57
7 Luca Guadagnino Call Me By Your Name 53
8 Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman 45
9 Steven Spielberg The Post 43
10 Paul Thomas Anderson Phantom Thread 42



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