Santa Barbara Film Festival is key stop for Oscar contenders

This year’s Santa Barbara Festival kicks off on Jan. 30 with the documentary “Mission Blue” and ends 11 days later — after 22 more world premieres and 31 U.S. premieres — with a marathon screening of the “Before” trilogy –“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” — the last of which is in contention for kudos this year. 

In between, a slew of Academy Award hopefuls will make the trip 100 miles up the coast from Hollywood. Being feted by this fest has proved to be a harbinger of landing at least an Oscar nomination. This year’s lineup of honorees is packed full of frontrunners: 

Cate Blanchett will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, moderated by Deadline columnist Pete Hammond, on Feb. 1 at the Arlington Theatre. 

• 2014 Virtuosos Award, presented to Daniel Bruhl, Adele Exarchopoulos, Oscar Isaac, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jared Leto and June Squibb, in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger, chief correspondent and host of “The Frontrunners” on Fandango on Feb. 4 at the Arlington Theatre.  

Oprah Winfrey will receive the Montecito Award, moderated by Los Angeles Times Sr. Film Reporter John Horn on Feb. 5 at the Arlington Theatre.  

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, moderated by Todd McCarthy, film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, on Feb. 6 at the Arlington Theatre.  

Robert Redford will receive the American Riviera Award on Feb. 7, moderated by film historian Leonard Maltin at the Arlington Theatre.   

Emma Thompson will receive the Modern Master Award, moderated by Maltin on Feb. 8 at the Arlington Theatre. 

In addition, the festival will screen the first Best Picture winner, “Wings,” as part of a silent film double bill with “The Thief of Bagdad” on Super Bowl Sunday. 

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