Celebrity Tributes

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At the dramatic and beautiful setting of the historic Arlington Theatre, SBIFF tributes are an all-star experience, where crowds of fans line the streets to catch a glimpse of the celebrity honoree’s walk down the red carpet. Over 2000 guests fill the theatre and are treated to an hour and a half of intimate conversation about the tributees career, complete with clips and montages from their body of work. The evening culminates with an award presentation by a special guest to applaud their great film achievements. Always insightful, and often humorous and thought provoking, tribute nights are not to be missed.



Maltin Modern Master Award
The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by SBIFF. Established in 1995, it was created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry. The award was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Recipients:
2016 – Johnny Depp
2015 – Michael Keaton
2014 – Bruce Dern
2013 – Ben Affleck
2012 – Christopher Plummer
2011 – Christopher Nolan
2010 – James Cameron
2009 – Clint Eastwood
2008 – Cate Blanchett
2007 – Will Smith
2006 – George Clooney
2004 – Peter Jackson



American Riviera ™ Award
Santa Barbara has long been described as the American Riviera™. SBIFF proudly places this trademarked name on our award for outstanding achievement in American film. Recipients:
2016 – Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams
2015 – Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke
2014 – Robert Redford
2013 – Quentin Tarantino
2012 – Martin Scorsese
2011 – Annette Bening
2010 – Sandra Bullock
2009 – Mickey Rourke
2008 – Tommy Lee Jones
2007 – Forest Whitaker
2006 – Philip Seymour Hoffman



Montecito Award
Named after one of the most beautiful and stylish areas in Santa Barbara the Montecito Award is given to a recipient whose style has been a contribution to film. Recipients:
2016 – Sylvester Stallone
2015 – Jennifer Aniston
2014 – Oprah Winfrey
2013 – Daniel Day-Lewis
2012 – Geoffrey Rush
2011 – Julianne Moore
2010 – Kate Winslet
2009 – Javier Bardem
2008 – Bill Condon
2007 – Naomi Watts



Outstanding Performer of the Year Award
This tribute was created to honor the actor or actress whose role in a film has exceeded greatness. The Outstanding Performance of the Year Award is given to the best performance of the year. Recipients:
2016 – Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan
2015 – Steve Carell
2014 – Cate Blanchett
2013 – Jennifer Lawrence
2012 – Viola Davis
2011 – James Franco
2010 – Colin Firth
2009 – Penelope Cruz
2008 – Angelina Jolie
2007 – Helen Mirren
2006 – Heath Ledger
2005 – Kate Winslet



Cinema Vanguard Award
This tribute was created with the intention of honoring actors with the tenacity to forge new ground in their craft. Recipients:
2016 – Rooney Mara
2015 – Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones
2014 – Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
2013 – Amy Adams
2012 – Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo
2011 – Nicole Kidman
2010 – Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Stanley Tucci, and Christoph Waltz
2009 – Kristin Scott Thomas
2008 – Ryan Gosling



Virtuosos Award
An award given to multiple “up-and-coming” actors for achieving a breakthrough performance. Recipients:
2016 – Elizabeth Banks, Paul Dano, Joel Edgerton, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Géza Röhrig, Jacob Tremblay, and Alicia Vikander
2015 – Chadwick Boseman, Ellar Coltrane, Logan Lerman, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, J.K. Simmons, and Jenny Slate
2014 – Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jared Leto, and June Squibb
2013 – Ann Dowd, Elle Fanning, Ezra Miller, Eddie Redmayne, Omar Sy, and Quvenzhané Wallis
2012 – Demian Bichir, Rooney Mara, Shailene Woodley, Andy Serkis, and Patton Oswalt
2011 – John Hawkes, Lesley Manville, Hailee Steinfeld, and Jacki Weaver
2010 – Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gabourey Sidibe, and Michael Stuhlbarg
2009 – Viola Davis, Rosemarie DeWitt, Richard Jenkins, Melissa Leo, and Michael Shannon
2008 – Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, and Amy Ryan



Outstanding Directors of the Year
sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter
An award given to a director not afraid to push the envelope in the cinematic world and has the eye for the picture they want to present and then does so, with an expertise that is both gracious and bold. Recipients:
2016 – Lenny Abrahamson (ROOM), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (THE REVENANT), Tom McCarthy (SPOTLIGHT), Adam McKay (THE BIG SHORT), and George Miller (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)
2015 – Damien Chazelle (WHIPLASH), Richard Linklater (BOYHOOD), Bennett Miller (FOXCATCHER), Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR), and Morten Tyldum (THE IMITATION GAME)
2014 – David O. Russell (AMERICAN HUSTLE)
2010 – Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER)
2009 – Danny Boyle (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)



Variety Artisans Award
sponsored by Variety
An award to celebrate the below-the-line professionals who are essential to the filmmaking process.
2016 – Carter Burwell – “Carol” (Original Score)
Hank Corwin – “The Big Short” (Editing)
Mark Mangini – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Soudn Editing)
Arthur Max – “The Martian” (Production Design)
John Seale – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Cinematography)
Patrick Tubach – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Visual Effects)
Diane Warren – “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground” (Original Song)
Jacqueline West – “The Revenant” (Costume Design)

2015 – Shawn Patterson “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie (Song)
Sandra Adair, Boyhood (Editing)
Bill Corso and Kathrine Gordon, Foxcatcher (Hair & Makeup)
Suzie Davies, Mr. Turner (Production Design)
Dion Beebe, Into the Woods (Cinematography)
Steven Noble, The Theory of Everything (Costume Design)
Joe Letteri, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (VFX)
Richard King and Mark Weingarten, Interstellar (Sound Mixing & Editing)



David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking
The David Attenborough Award was created for and first given to Sir David Attenborough for his commitment to nature filmmaking This award is given to a filmmaker who shows passion for nature filmmaking. Recipients:
2015 – the Cousteau Family – Jean-Michel and his son and daughter Fabien and Celine
2010 – “The Cove”
2007 – Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim
2006 – James Cameron