If you think Hollywood’s awards season will come to a complete stop just because of a little thing called Super Bowl Weekend, think again! As already covered extensively on Deadline yesterday, the pre-Oscar madness was running full tilt Saturday with the WGA, ASC and Annie awards, the Santa Barbara Film Festival and lots of lingering controversies about nominees and “rescinded” nominees. Whew! You’d think they’d give it a rest to let football take over but NOTHING gets in the way of Hollywood’s own Super Bowl!
I am up at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this weekend where I moderated the two-hour sold-out Performance Of The Year tribute to Oscar frontrunner Cate Blanchett at the 2000-seat dream palace known as the Arlington Theatre. At the end of it, Cate received a standing ovation when future co-star Rooney Mara (they start shooting Todd Haynes’ Carol in March) presented her with the latest trinket in a season in which she has so far run the table in terms of awards. She was a willing and warm subject onstage as we showed clips and I dissected her career, informing her at one point that, with The Aviator in which she played Katharine Hepburn, she became the only person to win an Oscar playing an Oscar winner. Always glad to pass on useless trivia to movie stars.
Over the years I have hosted several of these tributes, which are obviously well-timed as part of the Academy season. Festival executive director Roger Durling picks the honorees months in advance but always seems to have a good hunch who is going to be in the Oscar game. Among those SBIFF plays to are numerous Academy members who live in the area, so it’s always smart exposure on the part of awards consultants — just as is the early-January Palm Springs fest in the pre-nomination period. Durling himself moderated a rollicking free-form session with American Hustle writer-director and Oscar nominee David O. Russell at the same venue Friday night. And earlier Saturday at the Lobero, there was a producers panel mostly populated with Oscar nominees followed by the annual Women’s Panel (moderated in style as usual by Madelyn Hammond — yes, we’re related) which also sported several current contenders. Among those coming up in the next week are Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and several others. Some landed nominations, some didn’t, but they are all showing up regardless. It’s that time of year.