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Stars of ‘The Theory of Everything’ Receive SBIFF’s Cinema Vanguard Award

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones take to the Arlington Theatre stage to share how they forged their own paths in the film industry

The stars of The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, were presented the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award on Thursday night at the iconic Arlington Theatre.

The award was presented by screenwriter Anthony McCarten.

All three have received Academy Award nominations for the film. The film also has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture.

Sponsored by Tanqueray, the Cinema Vanguard Award was created in recognition of actors who have forged their own path — taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.

“These two actors continue to impress, and we are honored to have them at SBIFF to celebrate their fantastic body of work," SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said. "Eddie Redmayne’s and Felicity Jones’ performances together in The Theory of Everything are nothing short of an astonishing collaboration, recalling the alchemy of Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker in My Left Foot. They feed off each other and make a wonderful whole together.”

Previous honorees include Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ryan Gosling.

Redmayne and Jones each have received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for their portrayals of Stephen and Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything, directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire).

The Theory of Everything tells the remarkable and inspiring story of one of the world’s greatest living minds and of two people defying the steepest of odds through love. The film was adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking.

Cinema Vanguard
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones accept the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award on Thursday night. (Fritz Olenberger / Noozhawk photo)

The Arlington Theatre was nearly full when the crowd welcomed both Redmayne and Jones to the stage, where they were interviewed by Scott Feinberg from the Hollywood Reporter. Both actors revealed that they had started acting around the age of 12.

“I started out in children’s educational television," Jones said. 'I was the letter ‘V!’”

Redmayne had the good luck to be cast as one of hundreds of children in a film directed by Sam Mendes when the director was just getting started.

“It always looked good to put on my resume that I was in a movie directed by Mendes,” he said.

Redmayne and Jones attended Cambridge University and Oxford University respectively. Both credited the value of the experience they spent in earlier years with more experienced actors such as Helen Mirren, Robert DeNiro, Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.

“I think my big lips helped me get a role as Angelina Jolie’s son. And my freckles helped when I was cast as Julianne Moore’s son,” Redmayne quipped.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG Australia, continues through Saturday, Feb. 7. Click here for more information, including a complete event lineup.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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