Santa Barbara fest taps Bichir, Mara, McCarthy, Oswalt, Serkis and Woodley for Virtuosos Award

Posted by · 11:24 am · January 5th, 2012

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced, along with its film schedule, the recipients of this year’s Virtuosos Award. And they cast the widest net yet, honoring Demián Bichir (“A Better Life”), Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”), Patton Oswalt (“Young Adult”), Andy Serkis (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Adventures of Tintin”) and Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”).

The Virtuosos Award is meant to recognize a select group of actors who have distinguished themselves through their work in a given year. In the press release, festival director Roger Durling praises the honorees for their “indelible performances.”

You can’t really argue with the list. Though I feel like Serkis stands out a bit and probably could have used some kind of singular achievement notice. Then again, rounding him up with a number of other actors is probably just how he’d like it to be. Performance capture is just a way of recording performance and it all still boils down to the elements of acting for him.

The awards presentation will be moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger and will take place at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on Friday, February 3.

Last year’s Virtuosos honorees were Lesley Manville, John Hawkes, Jacki Weaver and Hailee Steinfeld.

This is the final awards announcement from the festival. Others included Viola Davis as Outstanding Performer of the Year, Christopher Plummer as Modern Master, the American Riviera Award to Martin Scorsese and the Cinema Vanguard Award to Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.

The 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs January 28 through February 5. I’ll be there once again, reporting on most if not all of the above.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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