“West Side Story’s” Ariana DeBose, “Licorice Pizza’s” Alana Haim and “Belfast’s” Caitriona Balfe are among the actors who will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Virtuosos Award this year. Festival organizers plan to give out the honors at an in-person event in the coastal California town on March 5.
The eight actors singled out for the award include newcomers, like Saniyya Sidney who plays Venus Williams in “King Richard” and “CODA’s” Emilia Jones and Troy Kotsur, as well as more familiar faces, like Simon Rex (“Red Rocket”) and Jamie Dornan (“Belfast”).
The event, hosted by TCM’s Dave Karger, will include discussions with the talent — which could be for some a stop on the road to the Oscars on March 27. Karger said these honorees are, “integral parts of the season’s most exciting and emotional films.” Previous recipients have included Zendaya, Riz Ahmed and Awkwafina.
The long-running film festival, now in its 37th year, regularly attracts over 100,000 attendees to the idyllic town for films, panels and tributes. The full lineup for the early March gathering will be unveiled in February.
Organizers are planning for the 11-day event to be in-person come March 2, although COVID concerns have once again disrupted many early-year film and awards season events. Last week saw the cancellation of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which was set to start this week, and the Sundance Film Festival announced this week that it would pivot to a virtual festival. Both the Academy’s Governors Awards and the Critics Choice Awards were postponed from their mid-January dates as well.