In the run-up to Santa Barbara, organizers managed not only to snag some major talent, but also to accurately read the Oscar tea leaves, with more than 13 Acad nominees scheduled to drop by.
“Our tributes are meant to be a celebration of these people’s careers,” exec director Roger Durling says. “Definitely in the last 10 years they’ve become tied to the Oscar season.”
Durling admits that the honoree alignments are sometimes fortuitous, but he feels he’s exhibited a knack for knowing whom to pick ahead of time. The toughest part, he says, is the planning, which occurs in March, April and May.
Among the heavyweights being feted are Oscar actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), who’s being presented with the fest’s Montecito Award on Jan. 26.
Joining Day-Lewis on the tribute slate is Modern Master honoree Ben Affleck, whose “Argo” is vying for the Academy’s best picture kudo; Jennifer Lawrence, who will be saluted as performer of the year and is Oscar-nominated for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
But the highlight, Durling says, is the fest’s Virtuosos Awards, which go to emerging artists. This year’s batch includes Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”), Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Ezra Miller (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Ann Dowd (“Compliance”), Elle Fanning (“Ginger & Rosa”) and Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”).
Rounding out the celeb parade are Cinema Vanguard honoree Amy Adams and performer of the year Leonardo DiCaprio.
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