2007 Calvin Awards: Best Supporting Actor

February 12, 2007

Smile! You've just been selected BOP's Best Supporting Actor!

Michael Sheen was the runaway winner of the Best Supporting Actor Calvin, for his portrayal of United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair in The Queen. More than doubling the point total of his nearest vote-getter, Sheen was the most dominant winner in this year's Calvins.

As Blair, Sheen walked a fine line in the film, bridging the stodgy old world of the royals while placating the reformists who were ready to write the British Royal Family off into the world of irrelevance. As he grows into the role of Prime Minister, his confidence and ability grows too, and we can see this through him. And while he does somewhat resemble Tony Blair, the performance is far more than mere Jim Carrey style mimicry, really getting into the heart of what was important in a leader in those days following the death of Princess Diana. And let's not overlook the strangeness of seeing Blair as a forthright and noble character, with the knowledge of what would transpire in the next decade.

Second place goes to Alan Arkin as the profane, heroin-snorting grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine. Arkin was hilariously blunt, but also had a few incredibly moving scenes as he guided his young granddaughter to potential greatness. His performance contrasted brilliantly with the rest of the polite and button-downed Hoover family, adding to the symphony of emotions that was present throughout the film.

Just a hair behind him was his co-star Steve Carell, who previously has been well-known for his manic performances. Here, he took that and beat the life out of it to give us Frank, the gay, suicidal Proust scholar. Although that could have been a self-parodical series of clichés, Carell makes the character real, giving us true pain. This performance is worlds away from anything we've seen from him before.

Fourth spot goes to Michael Caine in Children of Men. An aging hippie in the dystopian childless future, he represents the link to the humanity and dignity that has been lost in future fascist Britain. It's his vague hopefulness that the world has to get better and that people are generally sane at heart that provides the movie with an emotional core.

Stanely Tucci's long-suffering fashion designer is our fifth place choice for Best Supporting Actor this year. As something of a middle ground between Miranda Priestly's bitch on wheels and Andie Sachs's too-good-for-it-all naivete, his Nigel helped justify the sometimes insane world of fashion, and let Andie come to the realization of what being professional was all about. This was a part that could have been a screaming queen performance, but Tucci's deft handling of the role took a cliché and made it real.

Sixth spot went to Jack Nicholson in The Departed, playing the Devil incarnate for about the 50th time in his career. But as much as he has covered this territory before, it always remains fresh and menacing. His snarling and sneering Boston mob boss was a force of nature, but still managed to give an interesting twist in his end.

Paul Dano is the third member of the Little Miss Sunshine cast to place in this category, finishing seventh. A Nietzsche loving depressive with a self-imposed vow of silence, Dano wowed us with his silent but still extremely expressive performance, including a scene filled with rage that's tough to forget.

Two actors tie for eighth spot on our list this year. Mark Wahlberg's police sergeant Dignam was a hilarious junkyard dog, all bravado and testosterone. He was a terrific bit of comic relief that punctuated the oft-times overpowering suspense throughout the film. Tied with him is Ken Davitan from Borat. Although Sacha Baron Cohen has received the lion's share of press for that unique comic creation, let's give a hand to Davitan, who played his producer, Azamat. It's a thankless role, playing against such an overpowering comedic force, but without such a perfect straight man, Borat the movie doesn't work.

Finally, we have Clive Owen in Inside Man. As the calm, implacable bank robber Dalton Russell, Owen oozed menace with just the tone of his voice and through a twist of body language. It's something he's done before (see: The Bourne Identity) but here he had more of a stage to make this character hum.

Top 10
Position Actor Film Total Points
1 Michael Sheen The Queen 85
2 Alan Arkin Little Miss Sunshine 40
3 Steve Carell Little Miss Sunshine 38
4 Michael Caine Children of Men 34
5 Stanley Tucci Devil Wears Prada 33
6 Jack Nicholson The Departed 31
7 Paul Dano Little Miss Sunshine 25
8(tie) Mark Wahlberg The Departed 22
8(tie) Ken Davitan Borat 22
10(tie) Clive Owen Inside Man 18

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