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SBIFF’s Outstanding Performer of the Year announced!


Posted by Larry Gleeson


Sacha Baron Cohen will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Baron Cohen will be honored on Wednesday, April 7 for his critically acclaimed work in both Aaron Sorkin’s THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 from Netflix and BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM from Amazon Studios.

Roger Durling (photo by Clint Weisman Studio)

“In 2020, Mr. Cohen twice was able to capture our interest, our imagination as well as the zeitgeist. His work in both films is timely, urgent, and nuanced,” noted SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling.

An Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Golden Globe-winning actor, Sacha Baron Cohen is unmatched in his skills as a multi-hyphenate actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of iconic characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard, Admiral General Aladeen, and Erran Morrad. Baron Cohen has also starred in Adam McKay’s TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBYMartin Scorsese’s HUGO, Tom Hooper’s LES MISÉRABLES, and Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET.

Most recently, Baron Cohen starred in two politically driven and emotionally resonate films. Among a brilliant ensemble of actors in Aaron Sorkin’s THE TRIAL OF CHICAGO 7, Baron Cohen shines as real-life yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Critics hailed his performance noting he is “savvy and soulfully aware of his urgency” and that he “brought deep resonance” with his performance as Hoffman. Similarly, Baron Cohen returned as his iconic character, “Borat,” in the global hit satire BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which he produced and co-wrote, and according to The New York Times’ AO Scott was “the best film of the year.” Additional critics declared Baron Cohen is “a brave comic genius, a new-age Peter Sellers” and “a master.”

Sacha Baron Cohen, above, named the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Outstanding Performer of the Year for his work in two socio-political films, The Chicago 7, and, Borat Subsequent Movie Film. The award will be presented on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Photo: LA Times)

“It’s an honor to be recognized and to stand in the company of such incredible past recipients,” said Baron Cohen. “I’m very grateful to Roger, SBIFF, and everyone who believes that cinema, whether drama or satire, can shine a light on injustice and bigotry and even provide a laugh or two along the way.”

The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film this past year. Past recipients of the award include Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet, and Charlize Theron.

Margot Robbie, left, and Allison Janney, are introduced at the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award Tribute for the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, at the Arlington Theatre, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from March 31st through April 10th, 2021. More information, as well as Festival passes and tickets, will be available in the coming weeks at www.sbiff.org.

(From SBIFF news release)