Gifted people always know they’re gifted. Some allude to this knowledge but they usually indicate otherwise, feigning modesty and humble uncertainty, because it plays better. Last night it seemed to me that Viola Davis, Best Actress Oscar nominee for The Help, conveyed a little bit of that “I’m good and I know it.” Good on her. The last time I heard this in a public forum was from Errol Morris, and before that from Frank Lloyd Wright in a Mike Wallace televised interview.

I arrived late for the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Viola Davis tribute at the cavernous Arlington theatre last night. She was introduced by Octavia Spencer, interviewed by Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, career-clipped and given the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. There was an after-party in Montecito at the home of festival president Douglas R. Stone for a small gathering of festival elites. That group included Davis, Spencer, Samuel L, Jackson, myself, Thompson, In Contention‘s Kris Tapley, Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg and Deadline‘s Pete Hammond.