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Wednesday roundup: Sandra Bullock honored by Santa Barbara Film Fest; Oscar hopefuls at American Cinematheque [Updated]

December 2, 2009 |  4:18 pm

88754321 Sandra Bullock's year continues its upswing with news that the 25th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is honoring her with the American Riviera Award on Feb. 5. The award, which recognizes actors who have had a strong influence on American cinema, is being given to Bullock for her turn in the recent hit "The Blind Side," as well as for the range she's shown throughout her career in films such as "Crash," "While You Were Sleeping" and "The Proposal." 

The American Riviera Award might just be a positive sign for Bullock in regard to her future this award season. Previous recipients have included Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke and Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones, Forest Whitaker and Philip Seymour Hoffman. And she's certainly in buzz-worthy company: The festival is also honoring Colin Firth with its Outstanding Performance of the Year for "A Single Man." Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds"), Stanley Tucci ("Julie & Julia," "The Lovely Bones") and Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education") will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award. And "Avatar" director James Cameron is being named this year's Modern Master. The festival runs from Feb. 4 to 14.

Speaking of Oscar hopefuls, the American Cinematheque will feature an extraordinary array of contenders for this year's awards during December. Director Michael Haneke will be feted twice, on Dec. 3 at the Aero Theatre with a double bill of "Benny's Video" and the original "Funny Games," and on Dec. 17 with a sneak preview of the Palm d'Or-winning "White Ribbon." You can also catch an early glimpse of Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" on Dec. 6, and enjoy double bills of his "Brazil" and "The Fisher King" on Dec. 12 and "Time Bandits" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" on Dec. 13.

Updated December 4, 10:15 a.m.: The screening of "White Ribbon" at the Aero on December 17 has been canceled.

Jane Campion will discuss her latest, "Bright Star" at an Aero screening Dec. 12, which is paired with her 1989 debut "Sweetie." Meanwhile, the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man" will play as part of a triple feature at the Aero on Dec.14 that includes "Raising Arizona" and "Blood Simple," and at the Egyptian on Dec. 15 with "Fargo" and "Barton Fink."

Also at the Aero, the official Oscar entries from Mexico, "The Backyard," and Turkey, "I Saw the Sun," will be featured Dec. 11. That should get you up to speed on this year's award season, no?

-- Paul Gaita

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Sundance Film Festival: this year's must-see movies

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Photo: Sandra Bullock. Credit: Getty Images