Will Hollywood Elsewhere attend the Hugh Jackman celebration in Santa Barbara on 11.19.18? I’d like to but we’ll see. The star of Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner (Columbia, 11.6) will be the recipient of the 13th annual annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, which will be held as usual at the Ritz Carlton Bacara.

Some of us are aware of the moralistic undertow in Jackman’s performance as Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, and the fact that The Front Runner is a highly unusual film for its decision to present a canny, opportunistic infidel as a symbol of ethical decency — a politician with the usual egoistic flaws who nonetheless believes in governmental ideas and visions while keeping libidinal diversions in a box off to the side.

It also portrays the Miami Herald reporters and editors who made hay out of Hart’s mostly meaningless affair with campaign volunteer Donna Rice as…well, fellows who weren’t exactly advancing the cause of first-rate journalism.

It’s a movie that says “yeah, Gary cheated on his wife and so what? Because the real embarassment and the real mud came from what those journalistic bottom-feeders did to Hart and American political culture in the bargain.”

Out of 22 Gold Derby spitballers, why am I the only one who’s listed Jackman’s performance as one of the five most nominatable? I don’t know, but I can tell you for sure that most of the Gold Derby-ites are just following the pack mentality. On top of which a good portion of them probably haven’t seen The Front Runner…who knows?

Jackman’s performance strikes a chord. He’s playing a relatively decent fellow who winds up saying “c’mon, guys…is this what you want political coverage of a Presidential campaign to be about?”

On top of which Jackman doesn’t “act out” this tragedy. He snarls at it, fences with it, derides it, takes a poke at it and then becomes it. By the finale he’s a beaten man, accused and whipped and punched into submission, and for what?

The 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place between 1.20 to 2.9.