Florence Foster Jenkins‘ costar Simon Helberg, whose highly amusing performance as a self-deluding pianist should have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, was the funniest and most engaging of the SBIFF Virtuosos who were honored last night. The Big Bang Theory star was in his element and smooth as silk. Helberg is more of a witty ensemble guy than a lead, but he really needs to keep appearing in quality features.

virtuosos ensemble

The warmest vibes came from Fences and Manchester by The Sea costar Stephen Henderson and Moonlight and Hidden Figures costar Mahershala Ali. The biggest applause machine was Lion‘s Dev Patel. Loving‘s Ruth Negga, Hidden Figures and Moonlight costar Janelle Monae and Moonlight costar Naomie Harris more than held their own.

I’m not a fan of Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s absurdly demonic performance in Nocturnal Animals, and I was stunned when he recently won the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for this.  So I mostly just waited for his interview to be over. For what it’s worth I loved him in Anna Karenina.

The charming and smoothly disciplined Dave Karger (Today, TCM) handled his moderator task with the usual aplomb.