Cate Blanchett will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, SBIFF organizers announced on Tuesday.
The actress, whose performance in Woody Allen‘s “Blue Jasmine” has made her a frontrunner in the Best Actress race, will receive the honor on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the festival in the coastal town north of Los Angeles. She is the first of a number of performers and filmmakers who will be honored at the festival, which typically gives awards to an assortment of Oscar contenders.
The 2014 festival will run from Jan. 30 through Feb. 9, midway between the announcement of Oscar nominations and the beginning of final voting.
Blanchett has been in Australia working in the theater for much of the time since the debut of “Blue Jasmine,” in which she plays a cocktail-swigging, pill-popping woman on a downward spiral since her husband was sent to jail for financial misfeasance.
“It’s an unraveling, a downfall, a portrait of a fall from grace,” Blanchett told theWrap of the role.
In a press release announcing the award, SBIFF executive director Roger Durling called “Blue Jasmine” “the best performance of her already illustrious career.”
Blanchett was nominated for Oscars for “Elizabeth,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and “I’m Not There,” and won for playing Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator.” Her other films include “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Babel,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
SBIFF honors are among the highest-profile of a number of festival awards that are negotiated by studios rather than chosen by bodies of voters.
Tickets to the Outstanding Performer of the Year ceremony, which will take place at the Arlington Theatre, are available at www.sbfilmfestival.org