On The Scene 2/8: Was Michael Scott, Michael Scarned?


Steve Carell, who is notoriously known for his character Michael Scott in NBC’s hit series “The Office,” left the comedy during its seventh season in 2011 in order to become a more serious actor.

Since his departure, Carell has done exactly that and has made sure to be in at least one film every year.

Earning an Academy Award nomination for his 2014 performance in “Foxcatcher,” Carell proved that leaving the small screen comedy life was the right choice for him.

This past year, we saw Carell give three performances that did not receive any type of recognition. But maybe they should have?

“Welcome to Marwen” is a true story brought to theaters about artist Mark Hogancamp who was viciously attacked and lost all memory of his former life. Through his recovery process, Hogancamp creates a miniature world with dolls and tries to build a life again.

A film that I had more questions coming out of than going in to, received not one Academy Award nomination. Though as a whole, the film was a letdown, Steve Carell was its one saving grace.

Carell captured every emotion of a man who lost everything, flawlessly. Someone who was working on starting over in every way, mentally to physically, Carell carried each emotion on his sleeve. Out of his three 2018 performances, this would probably be at the bottom of the totem pole, but you can make a case that Carell deserved to be recognized.

Working up the ladder in overall performances for 2018, Carell made his way from the fictional town of Marwen to Washington.

“Vice,” a biopic on former United States Vice President Dick Cheney, received eight Academy Award nominations. Sharing the screen with Academy Award winners Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell, Carell was sure to be recognized for his portrayal of former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

He wasn’t.

Bale and Rockwell both received recognition for their performances. Bale, who actually deserves the award for Best Actor, in my opinion, would be nominated without a doubt. But Rockwell, who barely had a half hour of screen time, truly baffled me on how he was even considered for Best Supporting Actor.

Not only did Carell look like Rumsfeld but he captured the man to a T. Rumsfeld, who was Cheney’s mentor in the White House, made his way into power by working and conniving other people to make his way up the ladder, which he instilled in Cheney.

Carell, who is such a well-balanced actor, made sure to embody Rumsfeld and honestly deserved to be recognized for this performance.

But the best of Carell’s 2018 performances came in his first film of the year.

“Beautiful Boy” follows a father’s relationship with his son after learning his 18-year-old has developed an addiction to meth.

From recovery, to relapse and the repeated cycle, “Beautiful Boy” was one of my personal favorites of 2018. Carell’s performance shed light on what it is like to love someone who is battling addiction.

Carell’s portrayal was of a father, who would do anything for his son and no matter what, did not give up hope, even though time and time again a relapse occurred. He delivered  one of the most realistic performances that I have ever seen. For anyone who has personally dealt with the struggles of loving someone with an addiction, this film speaks volumes.

Starring opposite of Timothée Chalamet, the two demonstrated one of the most powerful things in the world – a father and son’s relationship.

We see the relationship between the two characters, and though Carell bestows wisdom on his son throughout the years, we see a friendship grow between them. If there is anything that I know more about personally, is the importance of a bond between a father and son. This film captured that perfectly.

Carell’s display was a true work of art and had me literally sobbing through the final 40 minutes of the film. This was a personal disappointment to me that he received no type of praise for this role.

When it comes down to it, each of Carell’s 2018 roles has a case to be made on why he should have been recognized. But, in the end, no matter what I say, the Academy will not give him any type of praise this year. I can say with certainty though, Steve Carell will get an Oscar one day.

Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is the third in a series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at [email protected].