Emma Thompson bows out of Santa Barbara film festival honor

Posted by · 5:30 am · January 28th, 2014

Emma Thompson has bowed out of receiving the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Modern Master prize this year. “Nebraska” star Bruce Dern will be honored instead.

The news comes on the heels of Thompson surprisingly missing out on a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in “Saving Mr. Banks.” The John Lee Hancock film nearly scored a goose egg with the Academy, landing only a Best Original Score nomination.

According to the festival, Thompson “is unfortunately now not able to be in attendance as she is required for rehearsal in London on the New York Philharmonic staging of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd,'” but that’s a commitment she obviously had before accepting the honor to begin with. It seems clear that without a nomination, her stage work became the priority and she has therefore bowed out.

Here’s hoping other honorees that didn’t manage Oscar bids – such as Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford – don’t get cold feet on the fest. This is kind of what you have to muscle through this time of year. The work is still worth celebrating, whether the Academy went for it or not.

In any case, Dern – who receive the Palm Springs Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award earlier this month – is a fine choice in Thompson’s stead. The “Nebraska” star received his second Oscar nomination to date this year, his first in the lead actor category. But he’s been a force of nature since he suited up and hit the turf with the dream of being an actor. So congratulations to him on yet another honor this season.

The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 9.

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