Lion’s Dev Patel, Moonlight’s Janelle Monae, Mahershala Ali, and Naomi Harris, Loving’s Ruth Negga are among those selected for the SBIFF virtuoso award. Since the festival takes place after Oscar nominations are announced, there is a bit of a shift in terms of positioning. Even without a nomination, the contenders have the opportunity to continue the publicity train for the film and to give people a better idea of who they are if they’re aren’t that well known. Some of the biggest names have done the festival even without a nomination, like Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey, which is badass.
The festival takes place February 1 through February 11, 2017.
AARON TAYLOR JOHNSON, DEV PATEL, JANELLE MONÁE, MAHERSHALA ALI,
NAOMIE HARRIS, RUTH NEGGA, SIMON HELBERG & STEPHEN HENDERSON
TO RECEIVE THE 2017 VIRTUOSOS AWARD
AT THE 32nd ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) announced today that the recipients of the 2017 Virtuosos Award, created to recognize a select group of talent who have distinguished themselves through breakthrough performances in film this past year, will include: Aaron Taylor Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Dev Patel (Lion), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, Moonlight), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Ruth Negga (Loving), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins), and Stephen Henderson (Fences). The Award presentation, which will be moderated for the seventh year by Dave Karger, will take place February 4, 2017 at the Arlington Theatre at the 32nd edition of the festival, which runs February 1 to February 11, 2017.
SBIFF Executive Director Roger During noted, “This year has been monumental in the breadth of talent breaking through in distinct and emotional roles. We are excited to honor both new and familiar faces, and look forward to celebrating them and their contribution to the craft.”
The diverse group will be recognized for their breakthrough roles in 2016 and careers thus far. Aaron Taylor Johnson delivers a fearless and menacing performance as the villainous sociopath Ray Marcus in the psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals. Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, Dev Patel brings an emotional sentimentality and soulful depth to his role in Lion. Janelle Monáe has had a banner year with star-making performances as Mary Jackson in the biographical drama Hidden Figures along with the brilliantly crafted Moonlight, in which she brings sensitivity and sincerity to the role of Teresa. In Moonlight, Mahershala Ali gives a captivating turn as the kind-hearted drug dealer Juan who shows astonishing empathy and love for the young boy he takes under his wing, and Naomie Harris is mesmerizing as the boy’s loving but drug-addicted mother Paula, delivering a harrowing performance overflowing with humanity, regret, and pain. Ruth Negga delivers a mesmerizing and resilient portrayal of Mildred Loving in the biographical drama, Loving. Simon Helberg won critical raves and audiences’ hearts with his charming performance opposite Meryl Streep as Cosme McMoon – the very expressive pianist in Florence Foster Jenkins. After decades on Broadway, renowned character actor Stephen Henderson reprises the role of Jim Bono in Denzel Washington’s upcoming Fences, which earned the actor a Tony nomination.
Prior recipients for the award include Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Dano, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Géza Röhrig, Jacob Tremblay, Chadwick Boseman, Ellar Coltrane, Logan Lerman, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Ann Dowd, Elle Fanning, Ezra Miller, Eddie Redmayne, Omar Sy, Quvenzhane Wallis, Demian Bichir, Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Shailene Woodley, Andy Serkis, Patton Oswalt, Andrew Garfield, John Hawkes, Lesley Manville, Hailee Steinfeld, Jacki Weaver, Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Stuhlbarg, Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, Viola Davis, Rosemarie DeWitt, Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Melissa Leo, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jared Leto, and June Squibb.
The festival recently announced that Warren Beatty (Rules Don’t Apply) will be honored with the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film with additional festival honorees to be announced.
For more information, and to purchase tickets, festival passes and packages, please visit www.sbiff.org.