Longtime, beloved actor Laura Dern received the Cinema Vanguard Award on Tuesday night from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival as a tribute for her remarkable career and recent performances in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women.
Deadline’s chief film critic, Pete Hammond, moderated 90 minutes of film clips and Q & A at the nearly full Santa Arlington Theatre.
“Laura is one of cinema’s world treasures and one of the festival’s favorite actresses,” said Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling. “Her career has been extraordinary, and continues to surprise us over and over again. We celebrated her father, Bruce Dern, in 2014, so it is very special to salute her, making it the first time a father-daughter duo has been honored.”
The Cinema Vanguard Award recognizes actors who have forged their own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant contribution to film.
Previous honorees include Michael B. Jordan, William DeFoe, Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jean Dujardin, Bernice Bejo, Nicole Kidman, Peter Sarsgaard, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stanley Tucci and Ryan Gosling.
SBIFF chairman of the board Jeff Barbakow opened the program and remarked, “It’s hard to believe that this is the 35th edition of the film festival. It is really amazing.”
He also credited sponsor Manitou Fund. The festival is presented by Ugg.
Dern is no stranger to the acting and the film industry. Born in Los Angeles, she is the daughter of actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.
“It is true that I was conceived while my parents were filming The Wild Angels,” Dern said. “My parents divorced when I was 2 years old, so there weren’t a lot of family photos.”
Her first film foray was in 1973 as an extra in White Lightning, a film in which her mother starred.
Her film debut was with her mother in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore the following year when she was 6. Dern described working with Alice’s director Martin Scorsese, and how fascinated she was with the magic of film making even at such a young age.
She starred in friend David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. She then received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in the drama film Rambling Rose (1991).
Two years later, she achieved international recognition following her role in the adventure film Jurassic Park. She guest starred in the “Puppy Episode” of the sitcom Ellen in 1997, during which Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out.
Dern has garnered four Golden Globe Awards with seven nominations, as well as earned a Primetime Emmy Award and seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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