Earlier this evening Rami Malek and Scott Feinberg had a nice, easy chat on the stage of Santa Barbara’s Arlington theatre. Under the auspices of Roger Durling‘s Santa Barbara Film Festival. I had never really listened to Malek talk at length before, and I’m telling you he’s got it. He’s 37, educated, centered, gracious, confident, fairly wise for his years (he could be a guy in his mid 50s) and with a relaxed, sharp-toned voice. Plus he’s an excellent schmooze artist.

And I’m telling you he’s going to win the Best Actor Oscar. Okay, I don’t know anything but I can feel it. There’s a vibe around Malek. You should’ve seen the ridiculously long line to get into show tonight — down State and onto Sola and waaay down the block. In the rain. And the standing ovation when Malek came out…fuhgedaboudit.

We talked a bit during the after-party, and everything was cool and smooth. I had this idea that Rami’s kinda on the shortish side — he’s not. He’s 5′ 9″-ish, or only an inch shorter than the 5′ 10″ Freddie Mercury. And he’s friendly with my hairdresser, Phillip Rothschild. (They live near each other.)

By the way: Feinberg mentioned “the elephant in the room” — i.e., Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer. You could see Malek tightening at the mention. Most of what he said in response conveyed sympathy for Singer’s alleged victims. But he also said his relationship with Singer during the shoot was “not pleasant…at all.” He wouldn’t touch the subject beyond that, and who can blame him?