Sam Rockwell, the likely winner of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar next month, was given the royal tribute treatment last night at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Critics-award-wise, Rockwell’s performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was lagging behind Willem Dafoe‘s in The Florida Project all through December, but then Rockwell suddenly surged at the Golden Globes and has the been the heir apparent golden boy ever since. This aspect wasn’t mentioned, of course, by Vanity Fair contributor and moderator Krista Smith.

The only beef I had with the presentation is that no mention was made of Rockwell’s performance in Lynn Shelton‘s Laggies, one of those confident, charismatic, rock-steady performances that doesn’t miss a trick.

(l. to r.) Krista Smith, Rockwell, actor-director Clark Gregg.

From “Rockwell’s Moment,” posted on 10.26.17: “I’ve been a Sam Rockwell fan for ages. He’s primarily known for playing loopy eccentrics or crazy fucks. He plays a somewhat more interesting character in Three Billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri — Jason Dixon, a small-town, none-too-bright deputy who screws his life up with violence and stupidity, and then actually self-reflects and grows out of a place of despair and self-loathing. And you admire him for that. This is why, I suspect, Rockwell is looking at a likely Oscar nomination.

But his two most likable performances, for me, were variations of droll — Owen, a droll father figure type, in Nat Faxon and Jim Rash‘s The Way, Way Back (’13), and Craig, a droll single dad and a possible romantic attachment for Keira Knightley, in Lynn Shelton‘s Laggies (’14). And he was even more winning as the perversely droll Mervyn in Martin McDonagh‘s A Behanding in Spokane, a B’way play that happened in 2010.So in my mind Rockwell’s forthcoming nomination is about Jason, Owen, Craig and Mervyn all rolled into one. Plus the dancing thing.

Previous Rockwell post: “I do know that when you hire Sam Rockwell you’re going to get one of his head-scratchy, soft-shoe-shuffle performances that are mainly about how hip-weird and hip-dorky he can be if the director doesn’t tell him to get down and focus his ass and stop hacking around.”