The 31st annual festival runs Feb. 3-13. According to the fest, the Cinema Vanguard Award salutes “actors who have forged their own path — taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.”
Festival director Roger Durling commented, “From her scene-stealing turn in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ to her outstanding performance in his year’s ‘Carol,’ Rooney has repeatedly showcased her talents as one of the most gifted actors of her generation. I truly admire the enigmatic and complex nature of her performances. She’s an adept, beguiling actor.”
The Santa Barbara Fest has long been a key stop on the Oscar campaign trail. So far, honorees at the upcoming event include Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”) with its Maltin Modern Master Award, Brie Larson (“Room”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) with its Performers of the Year Award and Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”) as an ensemble with its American Riviera Award. The festival previously honored Jane Fonda (“Youth”) with its Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film; other honorees will be announced.
At the 30th annual fest earlier this year, honorees included Eddie Redmayne and J.K. Simmons, both of whom went on to win Oscars. The festival also inaugurated the Artisan Awards, in which Variety saluted notable work in nine below-the-line categories at a ceremony/conversation at the Lobero Theatre.
The Weinstein Co. is releasing the Todd Haynes-directed “Carol.” The film played at the Cannes Film Fest in May, and opened in limited U.S. engagements on Nov. 20.