FILM BITES . . .
ROBERT DOWNEY JR HONORED WITH SBIFF MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD AT 39th SBIFF
2024 Golden Globe Winner and Oppenheimer Oscar Nominee Actor Cillian Murphy a Presenter of Maltin Modern Master Award with Actor Rob Lowe
By Bonnie Carroll
Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey, Jr., and Rob Lowe (Photo: Becky Sapp-SBIFF)
On Friday, February 9, 2024, Robert Downey, Jr, five was honored with the SBIFF Maltin Modern Master Award in the historic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA. Presenters included recent Golden Globe Winner-Oscar 2024 Nominee Cillian Murphy, and actor Rob Lowe.
Robert Downey Jr. is a two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner who has amassed more than 110 acting credits over the course of his career, including the title character in the blockbuster Iron Man franchise, which launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and reshaped the last 15 years of global cinema. He earned a Golden Globe Award for his lead performance in the action-adventure Sherlock Holmes, and two Academy Award nominations for Tropic Thunder, and his powerful portrayal of Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's 1992 biopic Chaplin. Upcoming acting projects include Max’s TV adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, in which he plays an impressive four supporting roles, and the Paramount Pictures remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller Vertigo.
Moderator Leonard Maltin introduced Robert Downey, Jr saying “He wears all of this lightly, his resting face is a smile, I promise you, you’ll see for yourself. He’s truly one of a kind.” “Robert Downey Jr. has staged one of the most spectacular second acts in show business history...and we in the audience are the beneficiaries. He commands the screen without any visible effort, which is perhaps the greatest feat of all,” said Leonard Maltin.
The SBIFF ceremony included an in-person conversation between Downey and legendary film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, for whom the award is named. The duo discussed Downey’s expansive five-decade acting career, his rise to becoming one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful actors to date, culminating in his recent searing, indelible performance as Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s staggering, global cinematic phenomenon, Oppenheimer.
Cillian Murphy who recently won a Golden Globe for his role in Oppenheimer, working alongside Downey shared “I’m thrilled to be here, because I want to take this opportunity to say publicly that I’ve never met anyone like Robert Downey, Jr.” “Robert works incredibly hard to make it look so easy, because all the great ones do.”
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is an IMAX®-shot epic thriller that explores the paradox of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it. Downey Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission who helped shape America’s post-war nuclear policy, and as Oppenheimer’s chief administration adversary, led the effort to revoke his security clearance and discredit him. Christopher Nolan adds, “It’s thrilling to see audiences responding not just to Robert Downey Jr’s incredible charisma, but to a performance which, stripped of any movie star trappings, shows once again that he is one of the greatest actors.”
Rob Lowe, a childhood friend and fellow actor talked about their good old days at Samo High in Santa Monica, California and commended Downey on being such a courageous performer.
Robert Downey Jr shared he was so proud to be at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, a renowned event and said “there are many lessons that can be learned especially when you see the interactions of people who operate at a higher level than you.” He closed by saying “This whole SBIFF, for us, was party time. We had a great time, and as always, I will never finish any thank you without thanking my greatest associate, Susan Downey.”
The Modern Master Award was established in 1995. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Academy Award winning actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Christopher Plummer, and acclaimed filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood and Peter Jackson.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 38 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes, and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.
Sponsors of the 39th SBIFF included Manitou Fund, Black Market Spirits, DAOU Vineyards, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Panavision, Santa Barbara City, US Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Yardi, Kaleidoscope Productions, ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, American Society of Cinematographers, John C. Mithun Foundation, Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, Northern Trust, Netflix, Visit The Santa Ynez Valley, Bentson Foundation, Volentine Family Foundation, Toad&Co, Topa Topa Brewing Company, Boxed Water Is Better, Saige Private Wealth, El Encanto and many more generous supporters.
For SBIFF information visit: www.sbiff.org.
POETRY CORNER . . .
HOLIDAY POEM BY GRANT HOUSE, SANTA BARBARA
Poet Grant House
Flame burns you say
Oxygen, wax and cotton fuel the flame
Heat and light
Blue yellow orange and white
Dynamic shapes and hues
Movement like dancing
Draws you closer
Engages the curious part of you
Candle flame takes you back in time
Cherished campfires of memories
The past you
Lights the way
Until the day
Your body spent is lit
After you pass away
As flames release you home
Your life candle
Light and warmth
Candle lit romance
Memories and introspection
Insights and intrigue
Recovery and innovation
Your light ignites
The lights in others
Your life's children
Watch the candle burn
A natural kind of art
No telling what might cross your mind
Or touch your heart
Poem by Grant House
♦ ♦ ♦
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