The 2023 edition of the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which is HE’s favorite award-season, chill-by-the-sea, full-pleasure gathering of fans and sophistos, kicks off tomorrow night (2.8). And as usual, SBIFF is offering all the right tributes and guests — Cate Blanchett, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Brendan Fraser, Angela Bassett, etc.

And I love the lineup for this year’s Virtuosos panel — Austin Butler, Kerry Condon, Danielle Deadwyler, Stephanie Hsu, Jeremy Pope, Ke Huy Quan, Jeremy Strong.

Thw only curious thing is the absence of To Leslie‘s Andrea Riseborough on Virtuosos night. With all the recent hoo-hah after she scored a surprise Best Actress nomination, I naturally assumed Riseborough would be added to the Virtuoso panel. But there’s been no SBIFF annøuncement about her so far, and I’m wondering why.

Could it be that Team Riseborough was offered the slot and chickened out? No need for concern on this front as regular Virtuosos host Dave Karger would certanly softball the interview. (Classic-era Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, he’s never been.) Risebourough would surely look and sound good, and reap a total win-win.

Riseborough Convulsions,” posted on 1.27.23: “If Hollywood Elsewhere had Roger Durling‘s job as director of the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival, right now I’d be doing everything I could to add Andrea Riseborough to the SBIFF Virtuosos panel. She has to be included…no debate!”

2.8 Afterthought: Riseborough’s Best Actress nomination is quite the splendid career moment, so unless she’s shooting in Africa or Southeast Asia (or, God forbid, is coping with a health issue) it seems against the basic nature of an acclaimed actor to say “thanks for the tribute offer but no thanks.” The best actors are about the work, of course, but what is a career or a life if you don’t take a bow or two and graciously acknowledge the acclaim of your peers? Historically speaking sidestepping the Santa Barbara award-season spotlight simply isn’t done.