This year, the San Francisco Film Society’s (SFFILM) annual awards night will unfold December 3 at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts Exhibition Center with honorees including Oscar hopefuls Amy Adams (Annapurna’s “Vice”), Steve McQueen (Fox’s “Widows”) and Bay area rising star Boots Riley (Annapurna’s “Sorry to Bother You”). The annual celebration honors achievement in filmmaking craft – it’s also a fundraiser that benefits SFFILM’s youth education programs.
Amy Adams will be on hand to accept the Peter J. Owens Award for Acting; Steve McQueen will receive the Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction; and emerging breakthrough talent Boots Riley will take home the Kanbar Award for Storytelling.
“These artists were selected because their work embodies the values of the Bay Area,” stated SFFILM Executive Director Noah Cowan, “in particular their role in championing innovative cinema, making the industry more diverse and inclusive, and actively participating in the social dialogue that is so desperately needed today.”
SFFILM moved its awards night from April’s film festival to the height of awards season in order to have some impact on the awards race. Public screenings and onstage talks will accompany SFFILM Awards Night.
Past recipients of the Peter J. Owens Award for Acting, which honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity, include Kate Winslet (2017), Ellen Burstyn (2016), Richard Gere (2015), Jeremy Irons (2014), Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), and Robin Williams (2007).
A five-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner, Amy Adams was most recently seen in HBO’s drama series “Sharp Objects,” in which she starred and executive produced with director Jean-Marc Vallée. She also stars in Adam McKay’s upcoming film “Vice” as Lynne Cheney alongside Christian Bale and Steve Carell. She recently wrapped production on “Woman in the Window,” alongside Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore. Adams’ additional film credits include Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival,” for which she was named Best Actress by the National Board of Review; Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”; Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals”; Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle;” Spike Jonze’s “Her; Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”; Nora Ephron’s “Julie and Julia”; John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt”; Kevin Lima’s “Enchanted”; and Phil Morrison’s “Junebug”, among many others.
The Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction is presented each year to one of the masters of world cinema. Past recipients include Kathryn Bigelow (2017), Mira Nair (2016), Guillermo del Toro (2015), Richard Linklater (2014) Philip Kaufman (2013), Kenneth Branagh (2012), Oliver Stone (2011), Walter Salles (2010), Francis Ford Coppola (2009), Mike Leigh (2008), Spike Lee (2007), and Werner Herzog (2006).
British artist and Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen is the recipient of an OBE (2002) and a CBE (2011) from Queen Elizabeth II. In 2013, McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” won multiple awards including the Best Picture Oscar. His second feature, “Shame” (2011), starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, received numerous awards and nominations. In 2008, McQueen’s critically-hailed first feature, “Hunger,” won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His latest film “Widows,” (November 16), is a modern-day thriller about four women (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo) who take their fate into their own hands after being left in debt from their dead husbands’ criminal activities. McQueen resides in Amsterdam and London.
The Kanbar Award for Storytelling acknowledges the critical importance that storytelling plays in the creation of outstanding films. Past recipients include Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (2017), Tom McCarthy (2016), Paul Schrader (2015), Stephen Gaghan (2014), Eric Roth (2013), David Webb Peoples (2012), Frank Pierson (2011), and James Schamus (2010).
Activist, filmmaker, and musician, former FilmHouse resident and SFFILM grantee Boots Riley studied film at San Francisco State University before rising to prominence as the front man of hip-hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. His debut feature film “Sorry to Bother You” premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Annapurna Pictures, and became a summer hit. His book of lyrics and anecdotes, “Tell Homeland Security- We Are The Bomb,” is out on Haymarket Press.