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Lupita Nyong’o honored with SBIFF Montecito Award

Lupita Nyong'o
Kacey Drescher/KEYT Photo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - One of Hollywood’s brightest stars walked the Santa Barbara International Film Festival red carpet Monday night. 

Lupita Nyong'o was honored for her great contribution to film, you may recognize her from blockbusters like “Black Panther,” “Star Wars,” and “Us.”

Fresh off the SAG red carpet, Oscar-award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o was the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s guest of honor Monday.

“I’m really happy to be here today to be receiving this award. This is about celebrating my contributions to film so far. I feel like I have had a short career, I'm touched that somebody thought it worthy to celebrate my body of work so far,” said Nyong’o.

Receiving the Montecito Award for her commanding dual performance in Jordan Peels’s horror/thriller “Us,” Peele was on hand to present his leading lady with the prestigious accolade. 

“It was challenging I have to say to be able to play two characters, two characters that are directly opposed, two characters that appear in the same scenes. It was a lot of very precise calculating work in order to delineate the two for myself in my head in order to play them,” said Nyong’o.

Fans were lined up behind the barricades outside the Arlington Theater for over four hours just to catch a glimpse of the Kenyan-Mexican stunner and hopefully snag an autograph.

“It would mean the world to me because I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting, this is my first autograph of anybody, I’m just so excited,” said 14-year-old Mia Reveles.

Mia’s hard work paid off, she got her autograph. “She’s just such a great actor. I love her in Star Wars,” she adds. 

Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling has been a fan of Lupita’s since her breakout role in “12 Years a Slave” and paused to acknowledge the significance of Martin Luther King Junior Day.

“To have somebody in the caliber of Lupita being honored with this award on this day is very special,” said Durling.

Past Montecito Award recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, and Melissa McCarthy.

Lupita says she looks forward to “what her career has to say.” 

“I feel like those are big shoes to step into. I’m excited to carry on with my career. I think what’s special about that list is that they’re all very dynamic and powerful but also very different,” said Nyong’o.

Lupita marks the end of an exciting final week for the film festival, Laura Dern will walk the Arlington Theater’s red carpet on Tuesday and all roads to Oscar make a “pitt” stop in Santa Barbara. Brad Pitt will be honored with the Maltin Modern Master Award Wednesday. 

Community / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara - South County

Kacey Drescher

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