Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama “Spotlight” is the current frontrunner for the Screen Actors Guild ensemble award, which makes it a mighty Oscar contender indeed, with strong support from the Academy’s dominant actors’ branch.
Open Road has responded to the “Spotlight” actors’ wish to not single out a Best Actor but to campaign as a group for supporting recognition. Thus the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (February 3 to February 13, 2016) is awarding Oscar contenders Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams its American Riviera Award. Given its timing on the awards calendar, Santa Barbara has an impact on the Oscar race, due to its local contingent of Academy voters and high-profile media coverage.
The 31st edition of the Fest marks the first time Festival Director Roger Durling will give the award to three honorees. Keaton, Ruffalo and McAdams will be fêted on a date to be determined at the Arlington Theatre with a Tribute celebrating their careers. In “Spotlight” they recreate the true-life story of how the Pulitzer-Prize-winning team of Boston Globe Spotlight reporters in 2002 exposed the Catholic Church’s systematic cover-up of widespread pedophilia perpetrated by more than 70 local priests.
The trio of actors join a prestigious group of past recipients, including last year’s honorees Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke (2015), Robert Redford (2014), Quentin Tarantino (2013), Martin Scorsese (2012), Annette Bening (2011), Sandra Bullock (2010), Mickey Rourke (2009), Tommy Lee Jones (2008), Forrest Whitaker (2007), Philip Seymour Hoffman (2006), Kevin Bacon (2005) and Diane Lane (2004).