This past week saw a rogue’s gallery of Oscar contenders trek up the coast from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, which is still recovering from the double-whammy of three weeks of fires followed by cataclysmic mud slides. Jeff Bridges’ Montecito home was among the houses buried in mud; his SUV was found seven houses away, but his office and archives (complete with his “The Big Lebowski” sweater) were spared. Among the movies world premiering at the city’s annual International Film Festival Festival under the direction of Roger Durling was Bridges’ environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past,” and as always the local community welcomed a stream of Hollywood visitors for a series of illuminating tributes and panels.
Check the videos below.
My “It Starts with the Script” panel featured director Edgar Wright, who attached a music file to his music-driven screenplay for “Baby Driver,” Chicago-born Virgil Williams (“Mudbound”), who started out as an actor at age eight on “The Blues Brothers,” Michael Weber, who took notes from Tommy Wiseau on “The Disaster Artist,” Vanessa Taylor, who exchanged scenes via email with Guillermo del Toro on “The Shape of Water,” Adrian Molina, who graduated from storyboard artist to screenwriter (“Coco”), rookie Liz Hannah who sold her spec screenplay “The Post” before she landed an agent, and Emily V. Gordon, who wrote about her romance with husband Kumail Nanjiani on “The Big Sick.”
Five Oscar-nominated directors — Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan and Guillermo del Toro — talked each other up to The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg.
Oscar frontrunner Gary Oldman charmed the SBIFF crowd while walking Leonard Maltin through Sid, Ludwig, Dracula, Sirius, Jim, John, and finally Winston. His chum Ben Mendelsohn presented him with the Modern Master Award.
I grilled 23-year-old “Lady Bird” tributee Saoirse Ronan, starting with “Atonement” at age 13 — landing her first of three Oscar nominations — to her most personal film, emigre drama “Brooklyn,” to working with Gerwig, who inspired her to want to direct.
Dave Karger interviewed this year’s lively batch of Virtuosos: Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”), whose heart burst on Oscar nominations morning that Gordon, the person he loved more than anyone in the world, got nominated for an Academy Award; Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out”), who said of writer-director Jordan Peele, “I thought he was going to get in trouble and I wanted to get in trouble with him;” Timothee Chalamet, who had three takes for the last shot of “Call Me By Your Name”— small, medium and large — and no one will ever see that last one; John Boyega (“Detroit”); Hong Chau (“Downsizing”) who said, “if you thought the movie was weird, it could have been weirder;” and Mary J. Blige, who said she will sing “Mudbound” Oscar-nominated Best Original Song “Mighty River” on the Oscar telecast.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond interviewed tributee Willem Dafoe (nominated for “The Florida Project”) for his SBIFF tribute:
The LA Times’ Glenn Whipp interviewed the year’s most-lauded producers of such films as “Darkest Hour,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Get Out,” and more.