Hollywood’s Getaway Fest: Santa Barbara Film Fest loses Leo, Gains Quentin, Shows Industry Chops

Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino (Photo: Getty Image)Maybe it’s the Oscar snub, or maybe he’s making good on his talk about needing a vacation. The big news out of Santa Barbara Thursday morning was Leonardo DiCaprio dropping out of his scheduled appearance at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

On the evening before the 28th annual Fest opens, DiCaprio, who was scheduled to receive the American Riviera award on Feb. 1, cancelled due to “scheduling conflicts,” leaving his visage hanging around town on promotional materials. In his place, his “Django” director Quentin Tarantino, no stranger to the SBIFF, will step in and receive his own tribute evening on the same date.

Also on deck to receive tributes this coming week include Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence. And there’s a six-for-one evening of “Virtuoso” awards for Ann Dowd (“Compliance”), Elle Fanning (“Ginger & Rosa”), Ezra Miller (“The Perks of Being A Wallflower”), Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”), Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”) and Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

That’s the celeb quotient for a fest placed advantageously between the Golden Globes and Sundance on one end and the Oscars on the other. The Fest has a pretty good track record not just for honoring nominees, but sometimes predicting future Oscar winners. Last year they guessed two out of five (Christopher Plummer and Jean Dujardin grabbed the Oscar), which is close for the office pool, but no gift card. The fest has become so reliable on this nominee front that when they "miss" (sorry, Mr. DiCaprio!) it hurts more than it should.

Celebs bring the tourists and the starstruck locals--Santa Barbara is where Hollywood goes to hide--but the SBIFF keeps them with a line up of films that did well at Toronto, London, and Venice fests, Warner Archive classics, and a doc heavy program.

And for all those who love coming to S.B. for the weather: it looks like rain all week. Perfect movie watching weather.