From now until the Oscar nominations are announced on January 22, Vulture will be highlighting some of 2007's greatest, sure-to-be-overlooked performances.
Yes, the Academy Awards have an 80-year history of ignoring comedy, and we certainly don't expect them to break their streak with Superbad, 2007's only movie that could plausibly have been written by an actual penis, but come on — looking back on the totality of the year's cinematic crop, was there a single more memorable, more endearing film character than Christopher Mintz-Plasse's McLovin? No!
If all had gone according to plan, the stars of Superbad would have been headliners Michael Cera and Jonah Hill as Evan and Seth, hapless high-school seniors on their way to their first cool party. But it's their asthmatic, fake-ID-carrying sidekick, McLovin (né Fogell), who steals the movie. It may be his first-ever acting job (God help this kid if he's playing himself), but Mintz-Plasse capably upstages an entire cast of tested veterans from Apatow's stable of doofuses in his every scene, from the one in which he's punched in the face during a liquor-store stickup to the one where he's tackled by a plastered wino. He's not tasked with a difficult role — the ur-geek who, through machinations too stupid to get into here, somehow manages to lose his virginity — but Mintz-Plasse throws himself into it with such hopeless, hilarious abandon, you actually believe it could really happen. True, no one's ever won an Oscar for playing a nerd in a teen sex comedy, but has anyone ever played one this well?