The actors received Virtuosos Awards at the 2024 Santa Barbara Film Festival over the weekend
Some of the year’s most acclaimed performers were celebrated Saturday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
At the 39th edition of the festival, six standouts from awards season contenders were honored at the Virtuosos Awards: America Ferrera for Barbie, Lily Gladstone for Killers of the Flower Moon, Greta Lee for Past Lives, Charles Melton for May December, Da’Vine Joy Randolph for The Holdovers, and Andrew Scott for All of Us Strangers.
Joined onstage at the Arlington Theater by Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger, the actors each spoke about their experiences filming the year's buzziest films.
Before Jane Lynch did the honors and presented the honorees with their trophies, they staged a roundtable-style discussion.
When asked which of their acting idols had seen and commented on their respective movie performances, the Oscar-nominated Gladstone, 37, revealed that her "queen," Cate Blanchett, showered her with praise during a recent Killers of the Flower Moon event in London.
"I'm glad it's on video because I wouldn't believe it," the actress told Karger and the crowd. "Since I wanted to act in film, my queen has been Cate Blanchett — and she still is."
After Blanchett introduced her and costar Leonardo DiCaprio at the event, recalled Gladstone, "I just said quietly to the audience, 'Cate Blanchett's my favorite actress.' And she said, 'You're my favorite actress too.' Very gracious. Thank you, Cate."
"You just said Cate Blanchett and I was going to [answer] my brother," joked Lee, 40, who plays Korean expat Nora in the award-winning Past Lives.
"I think I can share the sentiment that I know that we all have experienced this ridiculous outgrowing of love, this unique and unnatural situation when you get to hear from peers and idols," she said of the ongoing awards season. "I don't want to brag, but everyone from Nicolas Cage to [Jennifer Lopez] to Guillermo del Toro — it's just been unreal."
Lee's interaction with Lopez, she added, was an awkward one. "JLo said, ‘I saw your movie. This is your moment.’ And then you know what I said? I just said, ‘I wuv you J-Wo,’ " recalled the actress, reenacting her baby-like delivery.
Lopez "politely waited for more," said Lee, who apparently couldn't think of anything else to add. "It's not okay!"
"She was incredibly gracious, wonderful," said the Irish actor of meeting Foster at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards. He then poked fun at Lee, joking, "I said, 'I wuv you Jo-wie Foster.' "
Ferrera, meanwhile, Oscar-nominated for her scene-stealing work in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, said she was honored to hear kind words from her idol Tom Hanks. "Oh man, I'm not going to cry," the actress, 39, told the SBIFF crowd.
"He came up to me at an event and he said very nice things to me and I'm still recovering from it," recalled Ferrera. "I'm not ready to talk about what he said!"
For her work as boarding school cook Mary Lamb in Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, Randolph, 37, said that in addition to her accolades, a certain Only Murders in the Building costar offered praise.
Asked if anyone from that cast had given her feedback, the Oscar nominee responded, "You knew that's exactly who I was going to: Meryl Streep." She then mimed a mic drop, to applause and laughter from her fellow honorees.
Streep, she added, "was really quiet and I was like, 'Wait, what? I want to hear everything!' It was subtle, it felt like I was in Devil Wears Prada. I was shaking inside [to hear] her review... Yeah, she dug it."
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The Santa Barbara Film Festival, which this year runs from Feb. 7 to 17, is a major stepping stone for award contenders in the lead-up to the Academy Awards. The Virtuosos Awards recipients among the 2024 Oscar nominees are Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Gladstone, Ferrera, Randolph and Colman Domingo (for Rustin).
The 96th annual Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on Sunday, March 10, from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Barbie star Ryan Gosling, Maestro writer-director-star Bradley Cooper, and Oppenheimer star Robert Downey Jr. have also accepted honors from the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Mark Ruffalo, Martin Scorsese, Justine Triet, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and Annette Bening will each also receive accolades of their own.
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