PGCMAs: Best Cameo and Best Villain (2013)

Posted: January 29, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2013*The above image represents 2012’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Best Cameo

Most people define cameos as a famous actor or character making a very brief appearance, which is usually only one scene at the most. My definition is a bit more flexible. The described appearances still count, but I’m mostly looking at any actor or actress who provides a memorable turn in a role which is not quite substantial enough to be a supporting role.

Paul Giamatti, 12 Years a SlaveA lot of celebrities show up for minor roles in 12 Years a Slave, and among the best is Paul Giamatti’s brief role. Giamatti plays a slave owner who sells some workers to Benedict Cumberbatch. In his one scene he is creates a character that is believable and menacing in one of the film’s most memorable bits.

John Goodman, Inside Llewyn DavisThough John Goodman was used prominently in the film’s marketing; he isn’t actually in the film very much. However he makes the most with the time he has. Playing a big-mouthed jazz musician who travels briefly with Llewyn, Goodman is hysterical and provides some of the film’s most memorable moments in his small section.

Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Before MidnightPrevious entries in the Before trilogy had only two characters; Jesse and Celine. Here, the cast is a bit expanded, and the best bit comes from this largely unknown Greek actress who gives a beautiful and passionate speech about her late husbands.

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, The WolverineThere were a few cameos this year which were mostly used to create hype, and these two were the best. Was I surprised to see McKellen and Stewart? No, but it was still awesome and helped raise my already high hopes for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Channing Tatum, This is the EndI won’t spoil this scene for those who haven’t seen it, but god damn is this cameo great. It’s unexpected, creative, and best of all, hilarious.

And The Winner Is…

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John Goodman, Inside Llewyn Davis

InsideLlewynDavisFirstTeaserposter1

It had been thirteen years since we last saw The Coens and John Goodman work together, but man did the wait prove worth it. From the minute Goodman comes on screen, the film lights up. Not only does he provide some of the film’s funniest moments, but his interactions with Llewyn Davis are interesting and very important to the story. It’s a cameo that works on all levels. It takes genuine acting credentials, is fun in isolation, and is pivotal to the film as a whole.

Best Villain

Though Best Hero was dropped this year, Best Villain has endured. This award looks at the year’s most interesting evil characters. Obviously the performances are a big part of this, but how the writing counts for a lot here, more so than in other acting awards.

Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), Only God ForgivesOne of the things Drive was notable for was Albert Brooks’ villainous performance. With Only God Forgives, Refn has done something similar with Kristin Scott Thomas. Crystal is manipulative, selfish, greedy, and vulgar. It’s an over the top performance which fits the tone of the film well. Crystal may ultimately be one of the most pathetic villains of the year, but she’s still one of the most memorable.

Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), 12 Years a SlaveMichael Fassbender has played many things, but he had never played “unlikable”, at least until 12 Years a Slave. Edwin Epps, is a horrible excuse for a human being, vile, ruthless, and cruel. Fassbender displays all of these traits, but also is restrained enough to keep the character feeling real, which in turn becomes more frightening.

“The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley), Iron Man 3Some may say the twist (which I won’t reveal) alone should have disqualified Kingsley’s performance. Well, for me the main reason I’m nominating “The Mandarin” is precisely because of that unpredictable turn. Plus, both pre and post twist, Ben Kingsley is great.

Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugIt’s interesting how both Hobbit films peak in the third act when an all CGI character shows up. Anyway, Smaug is very threatening, very well realized visually, and Cumberbatch’s vocal work fits perfectly. Hhe proves to be a memorable presence in an otherwise unmemorable work.

Zod (Michael Shannon), Man of SteelMany were skeptical about a newcomer taking on  the role Zod since Terrence Stamp’s performance is one of the strongest elements of the original films. However this new take stands tall. The key here is they’ve added more complexity to Zod. He’s not just an evil conqueror, but someone who is trying to do right by his home world. He’s still evil, but more believably so, and Michael Shannon is great in the role.

And The Winner Is…

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Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), 12 Years a Slave

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Sometimes the best villains are the ones which feel real. Fassbender’s Edwin Epps is a brutal savage who is completely unlikable. And yet, he constantly remains a believable human. That doesn’t make him sympathetic, but it does make him real, which makes him far scarier a villain than he would be otherwise. I believe the real Edwin Epps was like how Fassbender portrays him here, and I also don’t doubt there were several other slavers with similar personalities.

Comments
  1. ianthecool says:

    I’m glad you nominated Smaug.

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