‘Nyad’ Oscar Nominee Annette Bening To Receive Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Inaugural Arlington Award

EXCLUSIVE: Annette Bening, who just received her fifth Oscar nomination last week for her portrayal of champion swimmer Diana Nyad in Nyad, has been named as the inaugural recipient of the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Arlington Award.

The Arlington represents the first new award the festival has created in more than two decades and is named for the historic venue where all the fest’s annual tributes timed to Oscar season take place. It will be presented on Friday, February 16, 2024 at the theater, preceded by an in-person conversation I will be moderating covering her entire career.

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“This is the first award added to our slate in 20 years. It is made to honor an artist who is greatly admired and who has demonstrated an incomparable commitment to film and its craft. Ms. Bening has not only displayed all of those qualities, but is considered by us to be a friend of the film festival. It feels fitting that this award – named after the home of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival – is first given to her,” said SBIFF executive director Roger Durling.

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Bening and co-star Jodie Foster both received Oscar and SAG Awards nominations (Foster in Supporting Actress) for Nyad, which was directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. In addition to her latest Academy Award recognition, Bening also received nominations for American Beauty, The Grifters, The Kids Are All Right and Being Julia, just a few of the milestones in an impressive 35-year film career that also includes such notable classics as Bugsy, The American President, 20th Century Women, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, her Emmy-nominated Mrs. Harris, and countless others.

Annette Bening in Nyad movie
Annette Bening in ‘Nyad’

On stage, Bening was last seen on Broadway in Jack O’Brien’s 2019 revival of Arthur Miller’s classic All My Sons alongside Tracy Letts, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Past theater credits include King Lear, Ruth Draper Monologues, The Cherry Orchard, Talking Heads, Hedda Gabler and Medea. Bening received a Tony nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance of the Season for her 1987 Broadway debut in Coastal Disturbances.

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The 39th Santa Barbara Film Festival will take place February 7-17. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout the city, including at the Arlington Theatre.

The festival, which has become a must-stop on the awards circuit, will open with the world premiere of Disney’s Madu and close with the world premiere of Chosen Family directed by Heather Graham starring Julia Stiles, Graham, Andrea Savage and Thomas Lennon. The festival will debut 45 world premieres and 77 U.S. premieres from 48 countries.



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