Santa Barbara Film Fest: Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams Tapped for Cinema Vanguard Award

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Claire Folger

“We both had some apprehension,” says Williams of shooting the film’s emotionally harrowing final scene. “We didn’t talk directly about the scene because we were both quite scared of it.”

Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, who star in Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea, and both of whom have received Critics' Choice Award, SAG Award, Golden Globe Award nominations, jointly will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, it was announced Thursday. The honor will be presented at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre on Feb. 5 as part of the fest's 32nd edition, which runs Feb. 1-11.

The Cinema Vanguard Award recognizes filmmakers "who have forged their own path, taking artists risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film."

"Throughout their respective careers, Casey and Michelle have impressed audiences with distinct, personal roles, and we are excited to bring them together to honor their sublime performances in Manchester by the Sea," SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said in a statement.

Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Carol's Rooney Mara (2016), The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones (2015), The Wolf of Wall Street's Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (2014), The Master's Amy Adams (2013), The Artist's Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo (2012), Rabbit Hole's Nicole Kidman (2011), Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz, and Up in the Air's Vera Farmiga — all of whom also received Oscar noms for that same work. (Affleck, Redmayne, Dujardin and Waltz won.)

The fest previously honored Warren Beatty (Rules Don't Apply) with its Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film and has announced that it will honor Denzel Washington (Fences) with its Maltin Modern Master Award; Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (La La Land) with its Outstanding Performers of the Year Award; Isabelle Huppert (Elle) with its Montecito Award; and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Dev Patel (Lion), Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures and Moonlight), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Ruth Negga (Loving), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) with the Virtuoso Award. Other honors are expected to be announced in the coming days.