The Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off its upcoming 2015 installment two months ahead of time with its annual fundraiser at the Bacara on Sunday. The Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film ceremony honored actress Jessica Lange for her lifetime of work in the movies and did so with a gala dinner, a series of retrospective clips, and celebrity presenters. This was the ninth year for the popular event.
Currently, Jessica Lange is riding a career high as the central character in FX’s award-winning creepshow, “American Horror Story.” Because of its season specific stories, Jessica Lange has played a different character every season, from a spooky neighbor in the first one, to a cruel Mother superior in season two, a supreme witch in season three, and now the leader of a traveling freak zone in the ongoing fourth season. While other actors are resting on their laurels in their 60s, or playing to their familiar strengths, Ms. Lange keeps stretching her abilities, pushing herself to grander and more outré directions. And while Hollywood is having a hard time finding any meaty roles for women these days, Ms. Lange has owned her corner of the television world and won two Emmys.