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The Bobby Awards

Garfield Hands Out the 2009 Honors for Actors and Actresses in Commercials

By Published on .

The hair is Cuttery, the shoes DSW, the tux is Sym's. We know we look fabulous. The 12th annual Bobby Awards are under way!

Or, possibly, is under way! Whatever!

Regrettably, in another down year for advertising creative worldwide, 2009 didn't yield exactly a bumper crop of nominees, but those actors and actresses who have been recognized for their performances are worthy, every single one.


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Victoria Kellaher
Victoria Kellaher
As AdReview's worldwide cult of followers is well aware -- or are well aware -- our biggest thrill is performance, and especially nuance of performance, a single expression or gesture often wows us as much as an entire monologue. That's how we can nominate Keiko Hewitt Teale, an actress who shows up for a few seconds at a time in a series of BlackBerry spots ( Leo Burnett, Toronto) without a single word of dialogue. But what she gets out of those seconds. Playing a fashion designer, we see her first in a flash of annoyance as she has to redo some stitching. Later, we see her applauding the runway models, her mouth puckered like a lead guitarist tearing off a riff. Fantastic.

Conversely, Dayci Brookshire's virtuoso performance yields no facial expressions, because we never see her face or any part of her. She is the voice-over for a talking pothole in a very funny Geico spot from the Martin Agency, Richmond. The voice is of an airheaded 20-something, from Richmond or points south. Sort of a Valley Girl from the Tennessee Valley. "Oh, noooo! Your tire's all flat 'n' junk!" A very funny, slightly mean, slightly stupid anthropomorphic road hazard.

The Bobby, however, goes to Victoria Kelleher, who plays the mom in a spot for Chef Boyardee ( DDB West, San Francisco). Her husband is about to blab to the kids about all the healthy veggies now in every can, and she gets a very serious look about her and starts banging pots to drown out Dad's careless disclosure. The small joke is that the kids won't eat the stuff if he thinks it's good for him, but her censorship by kitchen percussion is hilarious.


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Paul Brooks
Paul Brooks
Jonathan Goldsmith, looking like a Mexican Maximillian Schell, plays "The Most Interesting Man" in the World for Dos Equis (Euro RSCG, New York). He's a lover, an adventurer, a connoisseur -- and, as the very funny line tells us, "He speaks Russian . . . in French." A witty realization of a brilliantly conceived character.

The spot got pulled after complaints by Italian-Americans of stereotyping, but Russell Steinberg's Bobby Colario isn't some goombah or Mafia thug or wife-beater-wearing Guido. He's just a regular neighborhood guy grilling for the family, and his delivery in the Verizon commercial ( McCann Erickson, N.Y.) as he introduces the clan is charming and adorable.

Steinberg has lots of lines. Paul Brooks has just one, but boy does he ever sell it -- especially considering he's not an actor, but a tractor-driving ramp supervisor for Southwest Airlines ( GSD&M, Austin) out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. His dialogue in its entirety: "It's on!" Yep. Dead on. Bobby-winning on. We love this guy, and now we sort of love Southwest Airlines, too.


BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CELEBRITY

Brett Favre
Brett Favre
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alec Baldwin was very funny in his Super Bowl spot for Hulu (Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Boulder, Co.) in which he confides in us exactly how TV melts our brains. And we love both Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning in the Sony Consumer Electronics campaign (180, LA) because Timberlake is the funniest, most likeable pop idol since The Beatles and Manning is the greatest athlete/comic ever. (Sorry, Bob Uecker. It isn't even really close.) But the coveted celebrity Bobby for 2009 goes to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

In a hilarious spot for Sears ( Y&R, Chicago) Favre makes fun of his own infamous indecision about whether and where he would play football the past few seasons. It's hard to believe how charming he is, for two reasons: 1) a decade ago, when he was in the payoff scene of "There's Something About Mary," he was unbelievably stiff and terrible. In this spot, he is completely relaxed and in control as an actor. 2) We so want to despise this guy for jerking around his fans, the league, his teammates and at least two major Midwestern cities.

But now that he's letting himself be the butt of the joke, we can't hate him. We kind of like him again. And at the fabulous Bobbys afterparty, at Fuddrucker's, we'll even tell him the Vikings are a smart organization for signing him.

Or is a smart organization. Whatever.

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