I’ve okay with Steve Carell, but I’ve never been a huge fan…no offense. He seemed like a nice enough guy during last night’s Santa Barbara Film Festival tribute, which was moderated by Pete Hammond, but it was obvious that the crowd felt a lot more enthusiastic than I did. They seemed completely delighted with everything he said…with themselves for being in his presence. I recognize that Carell is a gifted, “funny” guy but I’ve never found him all that amusing…sorry. He mugs too hard or something. I hated Evan Almighty, his Noah movie. I thought that the chest-hair-removal scene from 40 Year-old Virgin was a so-whatter. I actually respected Carell’s performance as Toni Collette‘s mean-spirited boyfriend in The Way Way Back and he did make something exceptional out of diseased ruling-class malevolence in Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher, but the only Carell performance I’ve really and truly been delighted with was his nearly-suicidal gay professor in Little Miss Sunshine.

I attended the Carell after-party for five or ten minutes but I left early before he showed in order to join Scott Feinberg for dinner. What would I have said to Carell anyway? “Hey, Steve….Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere. I’m the one who was comparing you to a slow-running wildebeest before you got nominated for Best Actor. I wasn’t trying to be cruel or unfair…it just came out that way. You did a good job in Foxcatcher and I loved the nose, but honestly? I think your slot should have gone to Nightcrawler‘s Jake Gyllenhaal or Locke‘s Tom Hardy…no offense.”

Except I wouldn’t have said that. I just would have just smiled and offered the usual sheepish pleasantries and maybe asked him about his next dramatic role, etc.