It's the Christmas movie villains bracket!

Is this man the greatest Christmas villain of all? Or could it be another miserly fellow? MJ Kim/Getty Images

The key character in a great Christmas movie is not the generous do-gooder who spends the entire film fighting to save the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan or the hostages at the Nakatomi Plaza building. The key is a greedy, mean-spirited, miserable villain who gives depth and heft to the movie by giving us someone we can root against, such as old man Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”), Scrooge (“A Christmas Carol”) or Hans Gruber (“Die Hard”).

But who is cinema’s meanest Christmas villain? We learn who by letting the Definitely NOT Sweet 16 battle it out in our Bracket of Christmas Villains.

First round

Christmas movie villains - Sweet 16

1. Mr. Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”): Potter is the rich, heartless banker who claims that providing assistance to the middle class and poor produces a “discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class.” You just know, however, that he'd also expect taxpayers to build him a $600 million stadium for his Bedford Falls Marlins.

16. Granville Sawyer (“Miracle on 34th Street”): He’s the Macy’s guy who believes Kris Kringle is mentally ill for being overly generous, then gets him hospitalized in a mental ward. Too bad Sawyer didn’t do the same for Knicks president Donnie Walsh before he signed Amar’e Stoudemire for $100 million.

Outcome: Potter forecloses on Sawyer.

8. Oogie Boogie (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”): Perhaps the creepiest villain of all, Oogie Boogie is a living potato sack filled with swarming bugs that tortures Santa Claus, frightens his fellow monsters and demands seven-year, $250 million contracts for his free-agent clients.

9. Burgermeister Meisterburger (“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”) As mayor of Sombertown, he confiscates, outlaws and burns toys, then imprisons Kris Kringle in a dungeon. He also imposes a 33 percent tax on rental cars and a 20 percent tax on hotels to pay for a new stadium to lure an NFL team to Slumbertown.

Outcome: Burgermeister wins another term.

5. Scut Farkus (“A Christmas Story”) The yellow-eyed bully with the insanely evil laugh twists arms, blackens eyes and generally inflicts pain on the other kids. Little-known fact: As a grownup, Farkus started the New Orleans Saints bounty program.

12. Comet (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) Forget the Abominable Snow Monster. The real villain was this coach who encouraged all the other young reindeer to laugh and call Rudolph names for being different, and then banned him from all the reindeer games. Sheesh. Bear Bryant wasn't that tough on the Junction Boys.

Outcome: Farkus wins easily. Next up: a frozen foul pole.

4. Hans Gruber (“Die Hard”) In one of his best roles, Alan Rickman is a German terrorist who takes company Christmas partygoers hostage at a Los Angeles office tower in a plot to steal $640 million. Ahhhh, remember when $640 million seemed like an incomprehensible amount of money instead of the Dodgers' payroll?

13. Gin (“Bad Santa”) Bernie Mac is a mall security director who blackmails a drunk, safe-cracking, sex-crazed department store Santa (Billy Bob Thornton) into giving up half his haul from a Christmas Eve heist. Yes, it’s a heartwarming holiday tale, though hearing all the obscenities in this movie is a little like sitting next to Ozzie Guillen for 90 minutes.

Outcome: The only way a lone mall security guy would stand any chance against Gruber is if the actor was Bruce Willis.

6. Santa Claus (“Rare Exports”) In this little-known but very entertaining 2010 Finnish horror-comedy, Santa is a cruel giant who puts everyone on his naughty list. Evidently, this is the Santa who keeps stuffing lumps of coal into fans’ stockings in Cleveland, San Diego, Kansas City, Seattle and Houston.

11. Harry and Marv (“Home Alone”) Robbing homes on Christmas? And getting busted by an 8-year-old? These two burglars are as mean-spirited and dysfunctional as Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr.

Outcome: Harry and Marv in an upset (though I suspect Santa actually stepped into one of Macaulay Culkin’s paint-can traps).

3. The Grinch (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) He's so mean he even takes the last can of Who Hash! Of course, he does leave behind Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and the rest of the Marlins' roster, so he’s still not as much of a Grinch as Jeffrey Loria.

14. Mr. Vadas (“The Shop Around the Corner”) If you’re not familiar with this character from Ernst Lubitsch’s Christmas classic, he’s a creepy, conniving sycophant who alienates his fellow employees with his butt-kissing ways. The only way he could be more annoying to coworkers is if he insisted on telling everyone about how great his fantasy league team is doing.

Outcome: Grinch feasts on Vadas, and his roast beast.

7. Stripe (“Gremlins”) He’s the worst of the gremlins -- creatures that start out cute and lovable but then grow sharp teeth, reproduce like bacteria and make life miserable for everyone else. Kind of like Red Sox fans after a world championship.

10. Rose Chasseur (“The Ref”) Rose is a rich, bitter old woman who charges her children variable interest on money she lent them, gives slipper socks and tighty-whities as Christmas presents and warns her grandkids they’re getting fat on Christmas Eve. I suspect she also roots for the Yankees.

Outcome: Stripe gets fat on Rose.

2. Ebenezer Scrooge (“A Christmas Carol”) The iconic image of a mean, heartless miser, Scrooge is also believed to have originated the idea of personal seat licenses.

15. Frank Cross (“Scrooged”) Bill Murray portrays a Scrooge-like TV executive who's so rich and soulless he'd probably buy up the broadcast rights to every sport in the country and then make every game pay-per-view.

Outcome: Scrooge says “Humbug!” to TV execs.

Second round

Christmas movie villains - Elite Eight

1. Mr. Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)

9. Burgermeister Meisterburger (“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”)

Outcome: Mr. Potter turns Slumbertown into a blighted suburb of Pottersville.

5. Scut Farkus (“A Christmas Story”)

4. Hans Gruber (“Die Hard”)

Outcome: Gruber is wayyy too much for Farkus, and his miserable little toadie, Grover Dill, too.

11. Harry and Marv (“Home Alone”)

3. The Grinch (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”)

Outcome: Grinch makes Harry and Marv pull the sleigh with Max.

7. Stripe (“Gremlins”)

2. Ebenezer Scrooge (“A Christmas Carol”)

Outcome: Scrooge turns Stripe into the Ghost of Christmas Pets.

Third round

Christmas movie villains - Final Four

1. Mr. Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)

4. Hans Gruber (“Die Hard”)

Outcome: After a lengthy battle, Potter simply hires Gruber, then orders him to evict George Bailey.

3. Grinch (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”)

2. Ebenezer Scrooge (“A Christmas Carol”)

Outcome: Tiny Tim and Cindy Lou Who (who is no more than 2) watch the Grinch dump Scrooge from the top of Mount Crumpit.


Christmas movie villains - Championship

1. Mr. Potter (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)

3. Grinch (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”)

Outcome: Potter now runs Pottersville, Slumbertown and Whoville -- the Tri-Cities of Misery. God bless us, every one!

Christmas movie villains - complete bracket