Steve Carell ‘Foxcatcher’ Role Earns Performance Of The Year Nod At Santa Barbara Film Festival

Steve Carell, generally known for his comedic turns in films like Anchorman and 40-Year-Old Virgin, continues to rack up accolades for his latest dramatic turn in Foxcatcher, a performance that has earned the funny man an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Carell took home the award for Performance of the Year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Carell’s breakout performance has outlets such as Variety all but assuring Carell’s first Academy Award.

As Laurel Brown for the Daily Mail reports, Carell portrays John du Pont, who, after sponsoring the USA Wrestling team in the 90s, murdered 1984 Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz, regarded by many as the greatest U.S. Olympic wrestler of all time, after exhibiting paranoid and erratic behavior later deemed to be mental illness but not insanity.

Carell, best known for playing Michael Scott on the hit comedy series The Office, isn’t necessarily a complete stranger to drama. Carell had shown flashes of vulnerability and dramatic flare in movies like Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine, but his work in Foxcatcher takes the otherwise affable actor into the darkest territory of his career, and by virtually unanimous accounts, Carell rises to the challenge.

A former Daily Show correspondent, Carell faces stiff competition in the category, and many are split between Carell, Bradley Cooper’s performance in American Sniper, and considered favorite Michael Keaton for his work in the independent breakout Birdman. While a nomination, particularly in a year with such strong contenders, is widely considered an obvious achievement in and of itself, it has become something of a Hollywood cliche to state as such. Carell, however, seemed convincing in his enthusiasm and humility when he told William Fanelli of Cinema Blend how he and his wife, Nancy, celebrated upon learning about the nomination.

“I was up at 5:30 with a cup of coffee sitting downstairs in the darkness, and my wife… I didn’t know she had woken up too… but she was watching in our bedroom. When my name was announced, I ran upstairs to tell her as she was running downstairs. So we met at the top of the stairs, and we were just jumping up and down for about ten minutes. I’ll just never forget that. It’s a very unique moment and such a supremely happy one, and to share that with my wife and to have her be so supportive and be a part of it, it’s just really fun and exciting.”