For the first time, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this year will give its Outstanding Performer of the Year award to two recipients: Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan. The two actresses have generated a lot of awards season buzz this year for their turns in Room and Brooklyn, respectively. Larson portrays a single mother trying to protect her child from the horrors of their abusive environment, while Ronan is a postwar Irish immigrant torn between her homeland and her new home in America. According to SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, both roles are worthy of praise for their depiction of empowered young women.
“This is an incredible year for emerging talent to take center stage and showcase their abilities,” Durling said in a statement. “We’ve long been following the careers of Brie and Saoirse and their recent roles as empowered young women transcend time, place and circumstance.”
Larson weighed in on Twitter, enthusiastically congratulating her friend and co-recipient.
Previous recipients of the Outstanding Performer award have included Steve Carell (2015), Cate Blanchett (2014), Jennifer Lawrence (2013), Viola Davis (2012), James Franco (2011), Colin Firth (2010), Penelope Cruz (2009), Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005), and Charlize Theron (2004).
The 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Feb. 3-13, 2016. Larson and Ronan’s awards will be presented on Feb. 8.