The twelve day event sponsored by UGG Australia was filled with awards, over seventy-five great films, and star studded red carpets at the historic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara. From the opening film “Desert Dancer” directed by Richard Raymond to the closing film “McFarland USA” starring Kevin Costner the annual festival was all about the art of film making and recognizing award worthy celebrities who were all toasting with Dom Perignon, the official champagne sponsor for the event. Dom Perignon’s Julia Fitzroy was greeting celebrities in the Dom Perignon Lounge following a bevy of award presentations.
Jennifer Aniston, who gave an exceptional performance in “Cake” was presented the Montecito Award. She was accompanied by her fiancee Justin Theroux, and looked sensational as she walked the red carpet in a stunning Tom Ford design. Jeff Barbakow, Chairman of SBIFF presented Aniston with The Montecito Award, which is named for one of the most beautiful and stylish areas in Santa Barbara, and is given to a recipient whose style has been a reel contribution to film. Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Codon and Naomi Watts.
Aniston’s acceptance speech nearly brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience. The former “Friends” star warmly shared her heart felt appreciation to SBIFF for the award, and expressed how much she loves Santa Barbara and the people she has known in the community. Aniston and Brad Pitt had a home together in Santa Barbara, and enjoyed their own happy slice of life together in the blissful seaside destination during their five year marriage.
Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane walked the red carpet and made a handsome group representing their “Boyhood” film, which was possibly one of the longest filming projects of our time, and has garnered huge award attention, including Academy Award consideration. The American Riviera Award was presented to Arquette and Hawke by Ellar Coltrane. Sunstone Vineyards &Winery in Santa Ynez sponsored this tribute.
The Performer of the Year award was given to Steve Carell star of “Foxcatcher” who charmed the media as he came down the red carpet looking extremely handsome, a nice departure from his character in “Foxcatcher,” and took time to sign autograph’s for the crowd waiting to see him. Pete Hammond moderated the fun evening, and actress Jennifer Garner, who is a dear friend of Carell, presented the award.
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones “The Theory of Everything” stars were presented the Cinema Vanguard Award by screenwriter Anthony McCarten; all three of these talents received Academy Award nominations for the film. This tribute was sponsored by Tangueray No. 5 Gin.
Leonard Maltin did the interview of “Birdman” star Michael Keaton who was presented the Modern Master Award. Keaton’s red carpet walk was fantastic, and a huge crowd of fans were there to welcome him. Keaton, who has a home in Santa Barbara, was accompanied by his son Sean who he describes as his best friend. It was announced during Keaton’s award ceremony that the Modern Master Award will now be known as the Maltin Modern Master Award in honor of friend of the SBIFF and film historian Leonard Maltin.
For additional information on the 2015 film award and tribute winners visit SBIFF.org.
By Bonnie Carroll