Santa Barbara Launches with Oscar Tributes, from Cate Blanchett and Colin Farrell to Angela Bassett

Santa Barbara is a key stop on the awards circuit, with a range of starry panels and tributes.
TAR, Cate Blanchett, 2022. © Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection
Cate Blanchett in "TÁR"
©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

Under veteran Executive Director Roger Durling, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (February 8-18, 2023) has thrived by surfing the awards season wave and programming a ton of onstage interviews with Oscar contenders.

This year’s edition marks a return to a fully live, in-person film festival. The festival will showcase 52 world premieres and 78 U.S. premieres from 43 countries, along with free community education and outreach programs.

Every year, screenwriters, directors, and producers promote their films on panels, and the likes of Kristen Stewart, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Bong Joon Ho, Adam Driver, Renée Zellweger, Laura Dern, Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o, Saoirse Ronan, Bruce Dern, Jeff Bridges, Melissa McCarthy, Isabelle Huppert, Viggo Mortensen, Rami Malek, Glenn Close, Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Sam Elliott, and many more submit to in-depth tributes.

The panels, tributes, and special screenings lure local cinephiles and Academy members eager to hear Oscar contenders talk about their creative process. All tributes and panels will be in person at the Arlington Theatre.

On the first weekend, on Saturday, February 11 at 11 a.m., I will moderate the annual Writers Panel, packed with Oscar nominees from such films as “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “Living,” “TÁR,” “Triangle of Sadness,” and “Women Talking.”

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 05: Maggie Gyllenhaal speaks onstage at the Writers Panel during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 5, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)
Maggie Gyllenhaal speaks onstage at the Writers Panel during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film FestivalGetty Images for SBIFF

The Tribute program kicks off Thursday, February 9, with the Montecito Award honoring Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), moderated by Roger Durling.

Friday, February 10 brings the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award honoring Oscar nominee Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”), moderated by Scott Feinberg.

The Maltin Modern Master Award honoring Oscar nominee Jamie Lee Curtis follows on Saturday, February 11, moderated by Leonard Maltin.

The American Riviera Award honoring Oscar nominee Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) unfolds on Tuesday, February 14, moderated by Pete Hammond.

Every year, TCM’s Dave Karger moderates the Virtuosos Awards, which on February 16 go to Austin Butler (“Elvis), Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), Nina Hoss (“TÁR”), Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”), Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), and Jeremy Strong (“Armageddon Time”).

Also on February 16 and moderated by Karger is the Cinema Vanguard Award honoring “Banshees” Oscar nominees Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Returning to SBIFF’s Arlington Theatre are the annual Writers, Producers, and Women’s Panels, plus the new International Directors Panel.

Writers Panel – Saturday, February 11 at 11:00am – Moderated by Anne Thompson
Women’s Panel – Saturday, February 11 at 2:00pm – Moderated by Claudia Puig
Producers Panel – Sunday, February 12 at 11:00am – Moderated by Glenn Whipp
International Directors Panel – Sunday, February 12 at 2:00pm – Moderated by Roger Durling

The 38th edition opens Wednesday, February 8 with the world premiere of kidnapping drama “Miranda’s Victim,” directed by Michelle Danner and starring Abigail Breslin, Ryan Phillippe, Luke Wilson, Donald Sutherland, Mireille Enos, and Andy Garcia.

The festival will close on Saturday, February 18 with the U.S. Premiere of “I Like Movies,” directed by Chandler Levack and starring Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges, and Percy Hynes White.

The full program is listed here.

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