“The Santa Barbara Film Festival hummed along nicely. There was Cate Blanchett, there was David O. Russell, there were Marty and Leo. There was a tribute to the virtuosos. Half of the ones not nominated for Oscars were no-shows — Adele Exarchopolous, Oscar Isaac and Daniel Bruhl. Half of them did show up — Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan, who were not nominated, and Jared Leto and June Squibb, who were.

Leonard Maltin, Robert Redford, Roger Durling at conclusion of Friday night’s SBIFF tribute.

Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling.

Robert Redford was the second to last of the major tributes. He drew a huge crowd of appreciative movielovers, filling the Arlington. ‘I wonder who’s going to present the award to him,’ someone asked me. I didn’t know. Usually there is a high-profile celebrity who does the introduction, like Rooney Mara or Jane Fonda (who was down with the flu for Oprah Winfrey’s tribute).

Leonard Maltin and Redford began an involved discussion about everything from the business of Hollywood to the importance of his friendships with Sydney Pollock and Paul Newman. He said everyone told him working with Barbra Streisand would be a pain in the ass. But he said his time with her was one of the best working relationships he’d ever had.

“After a few film clips it was clear Redford was getting tired. They skipped ahead before ending the night with the introduction of the award. Out steps Roger Durling. Durling was the one who would present the award? Maybe that meant a higher profile person had also gotten the flu. Durling was fighting back tears during his presentation, talking about how Redford was his inspiration with the Santa Barbara Film Festival because he’d wanted to do what Redford had done with Sundance, how he had pioneered the whole idea of a film festival here in the states.

“Durling talked about how cripplingly shy he’d been his whole life. Growing up a gay man in Panama was not easy. Redford is also notoriously shy, but he overcame that to become of the greatest actors and directors working in Hollywood, and, of course, Sundance.

“Finally, Durling said that it was the high point of his life that Redford could have chosen anyone to introduce the award but that he specifically chose him. At this, Redford gave him that famous half-smile, as if to say, well who else would I have chosen? Redford said while holding his award, soon to join a shelf full of them, that he wanted to participate in the Santa Barbara Film Fest because it is about what the community had built and that community was based in large part on Durling. He believed in rewarding the strength of community. That is the real legacy Robert Redford leaves behind.” — from a Sunday, 2.9 piece by Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone.