It was a star-studded weekend in Santa Barbara, with a dozen stars – including many Oscar nominees – heading to the American Riviera for events at the 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Friday evening, in the sold-out 2,000-seat Arlington Theater, the festival celebrated Robert Downey Jr. with its Maltin Modern Master Award, named after the film critic/historian Leonard Maltin. Maltin hosted a lively conversation looking back on his career with the Oppenheimer nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, who charmed the audience with his self-deprecating humor and his imitations of all the actors in Richard Attenborough to his late father Robert Downey Sr.before Downey’s partner Cillian Murphy presenting him with the prize himself.
During the interview, the winner, 58, spoke about his childhood as the son of an independent filmmaker who cast him in a 1970s film. Book, when he was only five years old. “I think that’s what I was supposed to do,” the younger Downey said of his deadpan acting. “I didn’t really have the panache to be a waiter, I was told, so I had to resort to theater.”
Downey was a rising star of American cinema in the 1980s and early 1990s. He chatted with Maltin about 1985 A strange science1987s Less than zero (“A Ghost of Future Christmas”), 1989 There is a good chance And True believerand the years 1992 Chaplin (for which he received his first Oscar nomination, noting that the director Attenborough “changed my life”). The actor Rob Lowea high school classmate and fellow ’80s heartthrob who is still a friend, made a surprise appearance in the middle of an interview to compliment his friend’s work from that era.
It is infamous that Downey, in the mid-1990s, began a major battle with addiction. But he reemerged in the mid-2000s, clean and as talented as ever, in films like 2005’s. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (on which he met his future wife, Susan Downey), years 2007 Zodiac and the years 2008 Thunder in the tropics (for which he received his second Academy Award nomination), before achieving superstardom as Marvel’s Iron Man, a character he played in numerous films released between 2008 and 2019.
Then, in 2022, Downey and his wife produced Sr.a documentary about his complicated relationship with his father, who died in 2021. He reflects now: “It was really the start of this new kind of phase that I’m in,” which is expected to culminate in his first Oscar win. .
Murphy, who was introduced to a huge ovation, told the crowd, “I’ve never worked or met anyone like Robert Downey Jr., really.” Apart from his mind-blowing talent and supernatural range, he managed to impress us with both his character and leading man performances, his dazzling dramatic performances and his jaw-dropping comedic performances. He has taken on and triumphed in every type of role imaginable… It’s simply mind-blowing what this man has done. In my opinion, he is the most versatile actor of his generation, probably several generations… Robert works incredibly hard to make it look so easy, as all greats do. But he’s not just a great actor, he’s a unicorn of sorts, because he’s a great actor who has also reached a level of superstardom that few of us can understand. I think it’s because he’s one of the kindest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with, and it all shows on screen. You see it in every performance.
Saturday evening, TCM hosts Dave Karger, for the 14th consecutive year, hosted the festival’s Virtuosos Award Night, a celebration of artists who have achieved breakthroughs over the past year, which also sold out the Arlington Theater. But before Karger takes the stage, Scott Georges and a host of other Osage singers and drummers performed a rousing rendition of “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People),” George’s original Oscar-nominated song from Flower Moon Killers.
Karger then introduced six of the eight pre-announced winners for brief one-on-one interviews: barbie nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress America Ferrera, All of us strangers Main actor Andrew Scott, May December supporting actor Charles Melton, Leftovers nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Past lives Main actress Greta Lee And Flower Moon Killers nominated for an Oscar for best actress Lily Gladstone — Rustin nominated for an Oscar for best actor Colman Domingo And The color purple nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Danielle Brooks had to pull out of the event due to filming obligations – noting that, coincidentally, all were artists of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community. He snapped: “In other words, you’re not going to see a single straight white guy on stage all night. »
Ferrera spoke about the famous monologue she was asked to deliver barbie (“I’m so glad I didn’t do it all”) and what her Academy recognition means to her (“an Oscar nomination has been on my dream list since I was five years old – let’s not pretend that I did “I did not repeat this speech a thousand times”).
Scott explained how important it was for him to show All of us strangers, which depicts a same-sex relationship, in his native Ireland, where it was once illegal for men to hold hands. Melton answered questions about his anxiety levels before May December (“I was really nervous going in – I mean, it’s Natalie Portman And Julianne Moore“) and gained 40 kilos to play his role (“It was fun for me, I could eat whatever I wanted”).
Randolph said she shot Leftovers more than two years ago (it was retained after being bought by Focus Features following a private screening at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival). Lee, meanwhile, said she spent 20 years playing supporting roles before Past liveswhich she described as “everything I had been looking for my whole life” and, in reference to the film itself, “inyun”.
And Gladstone spoke about becoming the first Native American Oscar nominee for best actress, noting that she was personally pleased, but also frustrated that Native Americans had gone so long without such recognition: “It’s long overdue – it’s the 96th Oscars,” she said, adding, “The Super Bowl is tomorrow. We haven’t gotten that far if you look at any of the teams that are playing [the Chiefs].”
On Sunday, the festival paid one last tribute before the Super Bowl. At the Arlington, Jazz Tangcay moderated the Variety Artisans Award honors a host of Oscar nominees: barbie songwriters Billie Eilish And Finnéas (the siblings behind “What Was I Made For?” were definitely the main draw), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 VFX Supervisor Stéphane Céretti, Oppenheimer composer Ludwig Göransson, barbie decorator Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer, Maestro hairdresser/makeup artist Kazu Hiro, Oppenheimer film editor Jennifer Lame, Flower Moon Killers Director of Photography Rodrigo Prieto, Spider-Man: Through the Spider-Verse sound re-recording mixer Michael Semanick And Poor things costume designer Holly Waddington.
Speaking of Poor thingsnominated for Best Supporting Actor Marc Ruffalo will be in Arlington Sunday evening for a retrospective conversation about his career before the festival’s American Riviera Award is presented.