Lots of great actors won awards in 2016, and I’m sure they were all deserved. This article is to single out three that I felt deserved awards but didn’t get them. What made these three performances stand out was that without them the series as a whole may have struggled.
Caleb McLaughlin – Lucas on Stranger Things
All of the child actors in Stranger Things deserve credit. But Caleb McLaughlin deserves a special mention. He isn’t simply playing the ‘cute’ or ‘dorky’ kid, he’s playing one of the more complex characters on the show. Throughout Stranger Things, Caleb McLaughlin has to convey jealousy over his best friend showing more interest in a girl, anger, betrayal, rage and remorse. Some of these are emotions are hard for most twelve-year-olds to articulate never mind convey.
That Caleb McLaughlin manages this is impressive, that he does it so well should be award winning. Caleb Mclaughlin’s screen presence throughout Stranger Things was one of the highlights of an already great show.
Stranger Things needed this performance because Lucas’ role within the show is so vital. Of the four friends; Mike brings the heart, Dustin brings the cute, Will is the damsel in distress, but Lucas is the one that grounds the group.
You can appreciate one of Lucas’ strongest scenes below (at least until it is taken down):
Ruth Negga – Tulip in Preacher
Like most people, I enjoyed Preacher even if it is slightly uneven. It was beautifully shot, quirky as hell and achingly cool. What it was in danger of lacking was vibrancy. All of the characters could come off as a little too cool, and that includes the adorably murderous angels and Big Lebowski hating vampire Cassidy. That isn’t a bad thing, but it could have left the show a little anaemic.
Which is where Ruth Negga comes in. Ruth Negga brought a passion and wild energy to the part of Tulip that was counterbalanced Dominic Cooper’s repressed Jesse and Joseph Gilgun’s jaded Cassidy. From her very first scene, where she builds a bazooka out of tin cans, it’s clear that Tulip is going to steal the show.
You can relive that opening scene now:
Craig Robinson – Ray Heyworth in Mr. Robot
Mr. Robot is as well acted as any programme I’ve seen since The Wire and Craig Robinson should have accolades thrown at him for his portrayal of the conflicted Ray.
Ray is a genuinely nice guy capable of shocking actions. What makes Craig Robinson’s performance so noteworthy is that Ray does come across as genuinely nice rather than fake nice. A guy who, when he says that he is ‘a positive reinforcement’ kind of guy, the audience believes. I’m sure he’d be great to go for a drink with and would probably help out a neighbour if he could. It would have been easy to play Ray as a charming sociopath or simply a manipulative criminal. But instead, he is a real human being who made a dark choice he is still struggling with.
In short, Craig Robinson deserves an award for making what could have been a rather run-of-the-mill villain into something more believable, more interesting and more humane.
You can get a glimpse of this great performance here:
Do you have any other actors that should have got awards in 2016? I seriously considered David Tennant for his turn as Kilgrave, any other honourable mentions?
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