As awards season rolls on towards Oscar, the Santa Barbara Film Festival jumps into the fray to honor some standout performances of the year. The six recipients have all garnered critical praise and are all deserving of awards attention, but let’s face it, they all seem to be longshots for that elusive Oscar, so it’s nice to see them get rewarded for their brilliant work elsewhere. Via press release: “The actors who were selected to be recognized for their exceptional performances are: Demián Bichir for his earnest portrayal as Carlos, a virtuous father struggling to provide for his son in A Better Life; Rooney Mara for her dark and provocative performance as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Melissa McCarthy for her role as the hilariously outspoken Megan in Bridesmaids; Patton Oswalt for masterfully navigating between the realms of comedy and drama as Matt Freehauf in Young Adult; Andy Serkis for stepping into the mind and body of an ape through his master of performance-capture technology in his role as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; and Shailene Woodley for bringing an emotional complexity to a character rarely seen at her age as Alexandra in The Descendants.”
Part breakout, part performance, the Virtuoso Award went to Lesley Manville, John Hawkes, Jacki Weaver and Hailee Steinfeld last year, three out of four of whom actually did go on to score Oscar nominations. This year’s recipients will be fetted on Friday, February 3rd. Other stars being honored by the Festival include Viola Davis, who gets the Performer of the Year award while Christopher Plummer will receive the Modern Master award.