It was a night a many Belvedere toasts to celebrate the 12th Annual Kirk Douglas Award Gala. The night’s honoree Dame Judi Dench and presenters Ali Fazal, Armie Hammer, and Jeff Bridges all walked the red carpet a the Ritz Carlton Bacara Hotel in Santa Barbara to support and applaud the work of renowned actress Judi Dench who received the Kirk Douglas Award at the 12th Annual Kirk Douglas Award celebration for her excellence in film in “Victoria & Abdul.” Throughout her career, Judi Dench has received many accolades from BAFTA, Academy Awards, Golden Globes and many more.

Armie Hammer, Jeff Bridges, Ali Fazal with Kirk Douglas Award Honoree Dame Judi Dench

Signature cocktails for the event included a Belvedere Classic Martini, Grapefruit Smash and Belvedere Fashioned which were savored by all the guests at the Belvedere Bar in the ballroom lobby. Wines for the dinner included Dom Perignon and Grace + Vine.
Following comments from Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF, Actor Ali Fazal who starred in Victoria & Abdul with Dench and actor Armie Hammer, actor and Santa Barbara local Jeff Bridges presented the award to Dench following an endearing introduction on her amazing acting career that included a quote from actor Johnny Depp who says ‘Dame Dench is the love my his life.’

The group of actors who were present and participated in the presentation of this award proved to be a wonderful mix who not only loved working with the great Dame Dench but also enjoyed having fun with her during post photo opportunities. In her eighties, she still has the energy of a twenty-five-year-old, and it shines through her expressive eyes. The filmography on her body of work went from 007 to Queen Victoria and it was all a reminder of what a truly great actress this lady is, and the standard she has set for outstanding work on stage and in film.
Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, and John Travolta.
Funding from the Gala will go to support the many educational and community programs hosted by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival such as Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, the 10-10-10 Mentorship program and competitions, the Film Studios Program, Apple Box Family Films and the festivals new initiative to be launched this summer, Film Camp. The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place on Wednesday, January 31st through Saturday, February 10th.

Belvedere Classic Martini

The Ritz Carlton, who recently purchased the Bacara Resort & Spa, presented a dinner fit for a Dame from beginning to end. The Belvedere cocktails were flowing throughout the night, wines paired with the dinner were by Dom Perignon, and Grace & Vine with a sweet ending dessert that was beyond amazing. It was a fun-filled evening honoring a ‘one in a million’ great actress!
Note: Bonnie Carroll is editor-in-chief of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News (, founded in 2005, and is a contributor to a variety of travel/foo/lifestyle publications. She can be contacted at