Two actors shared an honor on Thursday night as the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette with the American Riviera Award, recognizing their careers and recent collaboration in the Oscar-nominated movie Boyhood.

This was the first time the award had been give to a pair for a distinction presented to actors and directors who have had a strong influence on American cinema.

Hawke, 44, and Arquette, 46, are from the same generation of actors, and it is fitting that the film they are featured in together, Boyhood, is centered on one boy’s coming-of-age from ages 6 to 18, and the lives of his divorced parents played by the evening’s honorees.

“To honor Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke with the American Riviera Award is an immense privilege for SBIFF,” said Executive Director Roger Durling, who also moderated the tribute. “Both have careers filled with significant achievements both on and off camera, including their roles in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, and prove that they’re artists who continue to evolve and inspire us.”

Boyhood is a best picture and best director Oscar contender for Linklater, who shot the film approximately once a year over a 12-year period with the same cast. The process created a feature-length film about growing up as seen through the eyes of a boy named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, who presented the evening’s awards to Hawke and Arquette.

For her role as Olivia in in the film, Arquette is nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and won and received nominations for Best Supporting Actress from a variety of organizations, including the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and more.

Arquette told Noozhawk what she admired about her character, Olivia, who placed emphasis on children receiving a proper education, something that she personally believes is important especially today.


Actress Patricia Arquette has performed in a range of roles throughout her 27-year career in film and television. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

“I would like it if everyone had the option to go to college and could afford to go to college,” Arquette said. “Not necessarily to go into a specific field but just to improve themselves as human beings and basically do what they love to do.”

Hawke, for his role as Mason Sr. in the film, was also nominated by an array of groups, including an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar, in his eighth collaboration with Linklater. Hawke met the director during a theater play when the actor learned about Before Sunrise, having also worked on Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Fast Food Nation and others.

Hawke spoke to Noozhawk from the red carpet about his experience of coming back into character again and again in a film that spanned 12 years.

“It was the joy of this experience. Was it hard, yeah, but the experience was so different and so unique than anything else that I’ve ever been through,” Hawke said. “It was the other people I worked with who would bring you back into that world, Ellar and Patricia, and so many others. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my character, and I was changing. My life was changing during the process so it helped me to better connect with my character.”

Hawke has received an Oscar nomination for his role in Training Day and has appeared in Dead Poets Society and Reality Bites. He’s also a nominated screenwriter, director, novelist and musician.

Arquette has performed in a range of roles over a 27-year career in film and television, including True Romance and Ed Wood and the television series Boardwalk Empire and Medium, for which she won an Emmy award.


Ellar Coltrane, who co-stars in Boyhood, presented the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Riviera Award to Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette on Thursday night. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Before meeting the actors, Coltrane’s parents showed him Hawke’s movie Gattaca and some other movies with Arquette so he had an awareness of them and gradually built the process of forming relationships with them over the years.

“I’ve always had a great deal of respect for them,” Coltrane said. “But it’s grown over the years as I’ve gotten to know them and seen more of their work.” 

Coltrane expressed to Noozhawk his experience of working together with such a talented duo.

“Working with them has been the most incredible experience of my life — to learn how to collaborate and throw myself into the process of creation with these immensely talented and driven people,” Coltrane said. “It’s an incredible and a brutal feeling seeing yourself on film. I think you always wonder how you change from day to day and much less over a decade.

“I’ve always spent my life wondering how I’ve changed over the years, and to see it all played out on film, in front of me like that, is very tender and heartbreaking but encouraging, and a lot of things at once.”

Previous recipients of SBIFF’s American Riviera Award include last year’s honoree, Robert Redford, plus Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and the first honoree in 2004, Diane Lane.

The final Tribute Award will be presented Friday night with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award honoring Steve Carell.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.