2006 Kaedrin Movie Awards: Best Villain/Hero/Badass

The nominations for the 2006 Kaedrin Movie Awards were announced last week. This week, I'll be announcing two winners every day, culminating in a post with my top 10 movies of the year and possibly a miscellaneous post where I blatantly steal categories from Alex's Arbitrary Awards (featuring categories like Best Stretch of Historical Plausibility for the sake of a Good Story and Best Multilingual Non-Linear Ensemble Movie). Without further ado, the winners of Best Villain/Badass and Best Hero/Badass are:

Best Villain/Badass: Owen Davian, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Mission: Impossible III

This was a mildly difficult category, but I ultimately settled on Davian because of Philip Seymour Hoffman's outstanding performance. He turns what is essentially a boring stock villain into so much more, raising the bar for action film villainy. The only issue is that he's not featured enough in the film (probably because the writers knew the character, as written, was mildy lame. I guarantee that once Hoffman was on the set, chewing scenery, they tried to give him a little more to do). In response to the nominations, some expressed surprise at MI III's showing and heck, I kinda surprised myself. I think Hoffman's performance is the primary reason I enjoyed that movie so much. When I think about MI III, two things immediately pop into my head. First, the diabolically confident villain. And second, that scene where Tom Cruise throws a pistol at Felicity and she catches it in a fluid motion as she starts shooting (because, you know, that's a badass scene). The competition in this category was mildly stiff, but in the end I decided against Jack Nicholson because, while I thought he was fine in the role, I don't think he brought anything special or unexpected. Le Chiffre from the Bond movie is exactly the sort of forgettable villain that Davian would have been had the role been played by someone other than Hoffman. And I decided against Phoenix because X3 was lame.

Best Hero/Badass: James Bond, played by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Oh come on, do I really need to explain this? Especially considering this year's weak competition, Bond is a lock. Craig puts his own imprint on the character and makes him interesting again (this is also due to the script and general reboot strategy of the series, but I'm willing to give Craig some of the credit). Casino Royale was quite possibly the most enjoyable movie going experience and pleasant surprise of the year for me. I'm someone who has never been that enamored with Bond, but this movie was a revelation. A short confession: I'd never seen a Connery Bond movie all the way through until about two weeks ago, and the reason for that viewing was because of Casino Royale. Expect a series of capsule reviews on Bond movies in a few weeks.

It's interesting that this year featured two of the best spy genre films in years, both sequels, and both better than most of their previous installments. I'd intended "Badass" to be a category all its own, but when I went through this year's movies, I realized that we had a pretty weak year here. Last year the choices were much more obvious, but this year, the choices were few and far between.

Up next: Best Comedic Performance and Breakthrough Performance. Check back Monday for the winners.