The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has always been a little different from your typical movie ceremony. An afternoon’s drive away from LA, you do see Hollywood represented in Santa Barbara, but the real focus is on independent film, foreign film, and movies that really help to prove the medium as an artform.
The Virtuosos Awards are a perfect expression of that spirit, honoring actors who are daring, brave and bold in the roles they choose as well as in their acting ability.
This year’s honorees include Michael B. Jordan who first stunned audiences as Wallace, a poor drug gang lookout on HBO’s The Wire, now being honored for his work in Fruitvale Station, an exciting, gritty, low-budget crime-family drama. Jared Leto, who stood out on MTV’s My So Called Life and in Fight Club was honored, and while he was heckled for his role as a transwoman in Dallas Buyers Club, that did little to dim the actor’s spotlight at the ceremony. Shockingly, at one point during Jared Leto’s Q&A a heckler yelled “Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award!” CLICK HERE to see Leto’s response.
Other honorees included fresh faces like Adele Exarchopoulos from Blue is the Warmest Color and June Squibb, who stunned audiences in Nebraska.
If you feel lost reading all of these names and titles, know that cult actor Daniel Bruhl was awarded for his work in Rush, while the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis earned veteran character actor Oscar Isaac a Virtuosos, as well, and Brie Larson, known for United States of Tara was awarded for her work on Short Term 12.
Between the time the awardees were announced and the time the ceremony was held, we lost one of the brightest stars in screen history with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has given us countless classic characters in movies like Capote. Hoffman was known to steal the show with minor characters like Brandt in The Big Lebowski, Scottie in Boogie Nights and the foul-mouthed “Mattress Man” in Punch Drunk Love. Jared Leto honored Hoffman’s memory at the awards show, reminding us that the brilliant performer’s spirit lives on in the new generation of young actors.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has always been a little different from your typical movie ceremony. An afternoon’s drive away from LA, you do see Hollywood represented in Santa Barbara, but the real focus is on independent film, foreign film, and movies that really help to prove the medium as an art form.