Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up): Chadwick Boseman, known for playing Jackie Robinson in 42, was recently recognized for his performance in Get On Up, in which he portrayed James Brown, the godfather of soul. One of the main challenges that Boseman faced in preparation for portraying James Brown was being able to dance like him. Boseman went through months of rigorous dance-instruction from esteemed choreographer Aakomon Jones, sometimes dancing for as long as 5 hours straight, with few breaks in between.
Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood): Perhaps the one with the most interesting story among those receiving a Virtuoso Award at the SBIFF, Ellar Coltrane was recognized for his dedication to acting in the movie Boyhood. For a few days once every year for twelve years, Coltrane acted as Mason, a character that was constructed by writer/director Richard Linklater to be a reflection of who Coltrane was as a person.
Logan Lerman (Fury): Logan Lerman, a young actor known for many roles in different films, was clearly accustomed to being in the spotlight. When he appeared at the SBIFF to receive his Virtuoso Award for his performance in Fury, he was able to speak on stage with grace and bravado. Lerman appeared in Fury alongside actors like Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf, and played a character that was very innocent and pacifistic. Fury was a very serious film about US soldiers in WWII. When speaking about the seriousness of the film, Lerman jokingly said: “It was a romp. This movie was hilarious.”
David Oyelowo (Selma): David Oyelowo (oh-YEH-low-o) was given a Virtuoso Award for his portrayal of MLK Jr. in Selma. In an interview on the red carpet at the SBIFF, Oyelowo commented on his preparation to portray such an iconic character as MLK Jr: “The film took 7 years to get done, so having all that time to prepare was wonderful… That, combined with watching footage of Dr. King, but really talking to people who knew him. That stuff helped.” Oyelowo said it was heavy to walk in Dr. King’s footsteps, as they actually worked with those who participated in Dr. King’s rallies.
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl): Rosamund Pike, known previously for her role in Pride & Prejudice, was given a Virtuoso Award for her performance in Gone Girl. To prepare for her role as a psychopathic woman, Pike had to train extensively, as this was so much different from anything that she had done before.
Jenny Slate (Obvious Child): When Jenny Slate was told that she had won a Virtuoso Award for her performance in the new film Obvious Child, she said she was surprised. In this film, Slate portrays an immature woman who is forcefully thrust into adulthood when she finds out that she is pregnant. The writer and director of Obvious Child, Gillian Robespierre, chose Jenny Slate for the role of the lead character in her film when she saw Slate do a stand-up comedy routine on stage.
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash): It was surprising to see how personable and approachable J.K. Simmons was in person, as this is vastly different from the character that he portrayed in Whiplash for which he was receiving the Virtuoso Award. Simmons commented that he accredits the ferocity of his character, as well as the amount of anger that he was able to generate in his performance, to the incredible screenplay that writer of Whiplash Damien Chazelle wrote.