It almost seems too perfect for the Santa Barbara Film Festival to recognize “Lee Daniels” The Butler” star Oprah Winfrey with the annual Montecito Award this year. Winfrey lives in Montecito and doesn”t offer up too many chances for film awards lately, so festival director Roger Durling and company have struck while the iron is hot.
The multi-hyphenate will be honored with the prize on Feb. 5 at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara during the festival”s 29th edition. Previous recipients have included Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening.
“Ms. Winfrey, the actress, inhabits Gloria Gaines with such gusto – she makes you forget Oprah the impresario,” Durling said. “Her performance is career-defining and reason to rejoice.”
Winfrey is in the thick of this year”s Best Supporting Actress Oscar race, aiming for just the second nomination of her career following recognition for her performance in Steven Spielberg”s 1985 drama “The Color Purple.” She was honored with the Academy”s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2011.
This is the second bit of Santa Barbara recognition The Weinstein Company has wrangled for “Lee Daniels” The Butler.” Previously it was announced that Forest Whitaker would receive this year”s Kirk Douglas Award at the festival”s annual fall fundraising dinner.
The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, 2014