The 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival honors keep on comin’. The latest recipient is veteran actor Jeffrey Wright, currently riding high with a career-redefining performance in “American Fiction,” which has already earned him nods from the Gothams, Golden Globes, Critics Choice and Independent Spirit Awards. Many experts are predicting that Wright may receive his first-ever Oscar nomination next month for his role in the film.
“I’ve been a fan of Mr. Wright since I first saw him in 1993 in the original Broadway production of “Angels in America,” said SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling. “I’ve since admired that he brings a high level of class and integrity to every role he does. Yet, no film had capitalized on his extraordinary range and virtuosity until “American Fiction.” It is about time.”
Wright has had a busy film year, having also appeared in supporting roles in Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” and George C. Wolfe’s “Rustin” (the latter of whom directed him in his Tony-winning role as Belize in “Angels in America”). Wright has won the Tony, the Emmy, AFI and the Golden Globe. His breakout role was in the acclaimed 1996 drama “Basquiat,” in which he played the postmodernist painter.
Ryan Gosling has also been cited for excellence in Santa Barbara this year, as well as several others selected for the Virtuosos honors. Bradley Cooper, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo will also receive distinctions this season as well at SBIFF. Recent recipients of the Montecito Award include Angela Bassett, Penélope Cruz, Amanda Seyfried, Lupita Nyong’o, Melissa McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan and Isabelle Huppert.
The 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from Feb. 7—17, 2024. For more information on passes, events and Q&As, visit sbiff.org.