Santa Barbara Film Fest: David O. Russell to Receive Outstanding Director Award

David O. Russell
Frank W. Ockenfels 3

"I had someone write me a letter that said I should make a movie about a bipolar superhero, and the letter itself was bipolar because it was delusional. But it was halfway interesting. The motto of the superhero was, 'I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome,' " said David O. Russell, whose Silver Linings Playbook centers on a man inhabiting bipolar behavior, with a laugh.

David O. Russell, the co-writer/director of American Hustle, will receive the Outstanding Director Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, it was announced Friday.

A day earlier, Russell scored his second consecutive Oscar noms for best director and best original screenplay and became the first man in history to direct back-to-back films that landed Oscar noms in each of the four acting categories.

The honor will be presented Jan. 31 at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre as part of the fest's 29th edition, which will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9.

FILM REVIEW: American Hustle

“Russell has matured into one of the most essential voices in film today,” Roger Durling, SBIFF's executive director, said in a statement. “His deeply personal trilogy, comprised of The Fighter (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle, tap deeply at the core of the American dream where anyone should be guaranteed the opportunity of a second chance, of reinvention and triumph. As a writer and director, he is not afraid to push the envelope in the cinematic world. He has the eye for the picture he wants to present and then does so, with an expertise that is as bold as it is a joy to watch."

The fest previously announced that it will honor Robert Redford (All Is Lost) with its American Riviera Award; Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels' The Butler) with its Montecito Award; Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) with its Outstanding Performer of the Year Award; Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) with its Modern Master Award; Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and June Squibb (Nebraska) with its Virtuosos Award. It has already honored Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butlerwith its Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at a pre-festival ceremony.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg