Billie Eilish, Finneas, Ludwig Goransson and More Honored at Variety Artisans Awards

Honoree Billie Eilish at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

Billie Eilish and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, made a rare appearance at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Variety Artisans panel on Sunday.

The panel, sponsored by Variety magazine and moderated by their senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcay, featured the film crafts people whose work appears in the most recognized films of the year.  It is one of the most interesting SBIFF panels, especially to those who enjoy learning about the process of filmmaking.

Usually there is a relative small crowd that draws approximately 400 – 500 people to the Arlington.  However, Eilish’s appearance made the panel a different experience this year.  There was a crush of fans greeting her arrival prompting the closure of a few streets around the Arlington.  The crowd swelled to 2,000 inside the theater.  

Honoree Billie Eilish speaking to fans at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

During Eilish’s appearance with her brother, she spoke of their soulmate relationship and said she would never not want to work with him.  The affection between the two of them was genuine.  They recounted writing the hit song from Barbie, What Am I Made For, relatively quickly, finding the melody after watching 30 minutes of the film. They also noted that the images in the related video are home movies and photos from the cast and crew of Barbie.

The crowd was attentive, with only one guy blurted out “will you marry me?” awkwardly in the middle. She said “yeah, sure dude” in a playful way.  

Honorees Billie Eilish and Finneas at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

The crowd stayed for all the other artisans (complete list below) that didn’t include other pop stars but film industry heavy hitters in their own right. Ludwig Göransson, the composer for “Oppenheimer” and Holly Waddington, costume designer on “Poor Things.”

So, Eilish’s experience, perhaps, served to expand the understanding of filmmaking to an audience that otherwise might not have been exposed the the requisite artistic disciplines.  

Honorees at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

Here’s a full list of the award winners:

1. Stephane Ceretti – Visual Effects, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

Stephane Ceretti played a vital role in the Marvel blockbuster by contributing to the compelling backstory of Rocket Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper. Working closely with the VFX team, Ceretti brought baby Rocket to life at different stages of evolution focusing on animating the character’s emotions.

Honoree Stephane Ceretti at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

2. Billie Eilish and Finneas – Song, “What Was I Made For,” from “Barbie”

Billie Eilish and Finneas created a melancholic ballad called “What Was I Made For” for the blockbuster hit “Barbie.” The song is featured in a pivotal scene between Margot Robbie’s Barbie character and the creator of the iconic doll, Ruth Handler, portrayed by Rhea Perlman.

3. Ludwig Göransson – Composer, “Oppenheimer”

Ludwig Göransson’s score for “Oppenheimer” has garnered high praise, with critics saying his composition immerses audiences in Oppenheimer’s perspective, using the violin as the core instrument.

Honoree Ludwig Göransson at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

4. Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer – Production Designer/Set Decorator, “Barbie”

Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer took on the challenge of building Barbieland on soundstages in the U.K. for the film “Barbie.” To create a sense of scale and realism, Greenwood and Spencer reduced the designs by 23%. This intentional distortion allowed the actors playing dolls to appear larger in comparison. Adhering to a unique set of rules, they infused the world with fuchsia and pink hues, avoided black, white, and brown colors, eliminated natural elements like fire and water, and utilized toy-like depictions of food.

Honorees Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

5. Kazu Hiro – Hairstyling/Makeup, “Maestro”

Kazu Hiro’s incredible work in prosthetics makeup involved the transformation of Bradley Cooper into the renowned musician Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro.” Covering various stages of Bernstein’s life, Hiro used multiple layers of makeup application, including prosthetics for the nose, lips, chin, and extensive details for the top of the head, forehead, eyelids, and more.

Honoree Kazu Hiro at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

6. Jennifer Lame – Editor, “Oppenheimer”

Jennifer Lame’s work as an editor on Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” involved tackling complex historical events, rivalries, and relationships. Lame aimed to shine a spotlight on the female characters, ensuring they felt multidimensional and complex.

Honoree Jennifer Lame at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

7. Rodrigo Prieto – Cinematography, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Rodrigo Prieto employed a distinct visual language in “Killers of the Flower Moon” to differentiate between indigenous Osage people and the newcomers in 1923 Oklahoma. Prieto’s creative approach involved using techniques developed by Technicolor Rome and the Lumiere brothers to portray the tragic story of the Osage murders.

Honoree Rodrigo Prieto at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

8. Michael Semanick – Re-recording Mixer, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Michael Semanick’s expertise as a re-recording mixer contributed to the immersive audio experience of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Utilizing both digital and analog equipment, Semanick skillfully balanced reflective moments and action sequences.

Honoree Michael Semanick at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

9. Holly Waddington – Costume Designer, “Poor Things”

Holly Waddington styled Emma Stone’s character, Bella Baxter, in “Poor Things” and gradually undressed Bella throughout the film, symbolizing her childlike nature. By the end, Bella sported lightweight fabrics reflecting her freedom, empowerment, and enlightenment. The use of quilted fabrics earlier in the film emphasized Bella’s childlike qualities.

Honoree Holly Waddington at the Variety Artisan Awards ceremony during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 11, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Learn more at sbiff.org

Mahil Senathirajah

Written by Mahil Senathirajah

Mahil Senathirajah is an independent film consultant and contributing writer to edhat.com

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    • Basic, I don’t know how, as such a die hard Santa Barbarian, to the point that you like to accuse people of being from L.A. if they exhibit behaviors that you don’t like, you could possibly fail to be aware of the fact that Santa Barbara’s film history pre-dates that of Los Angeles.

      We were Hollywood before there was a Hollywood. So all the “phony-phony” that you like to complain about, at least in terms of the entertainment industry, was here before it was in Los Angeles.

      So much so that Los Angelenos would not be far off the mark for blaming all the entertainment glitz, glamour and superficiality on Santa Barbara.

      How do you not know this?

      • How do YOU not see how LA SB has become in the past 20 years? You ever seen the bumper sticker “LA go home” around here? It’s about the vibe, the poser me me me attitude, phony stuff like that. But thanks for the film history lesson, I guess.

        • I don’t know how you don’t know one of the most important pieces of history of your own town, so you’re welcome, I guess.

          Beyond that, yes, I have seen it. There was definitely a time when a family would down a ten million dollar mansion in Montecito and still drive modest cars, i.e., they didn’t show off their wealth. That has changed for sure. And I miss those days to be honest. But, to ascribe it only to the entertainment industry, well, as I said, that has been here for literally one hundred and ten years.

          I think the people that you actually dislike may not be from L.A. at all but from Texas, China, Russia, New York, the tech wealthy from Northern California. I’ve dealt with people who own second homes here worth 10-20 million where they only spend a couple weeks a year. And they aren’t from L.A..

  1. And Sac, you should reread the “move away if you don’t like it” comment, because you completely misinterpreted it to mean IM telling folks to move away if they don’t like certain aspects of where they live, but hey – who does that!!?? (Hint – you and that GT dude). I’m not telling others to do so.

    • “(Hint – you and that GT dude)” Ummmm…. have you ever read a single comment of mine? Since when have I complained about living here? I LOVE SB and CA. Absolutely love it. You know who DOES complain constantly about the state in which they live? Look in the mirror champ

      It’s almost like you don’t understand English or something LOL!

    • BASIC: ” you completely misinterpreted it to mean IM telling folks to move away if they don’t like certain aspects of where they live”

      Also BASIC, just 2 hours ago: “just move away if you don’t like it?”

      Words are important.

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