The Newport Beach Film Festival event was set placed at the breathtaking Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach on Sunday, November 3rd. In celebration of NBFF’s Fall Honors and Variety’s Top 10 Actors to Watch For 2019, recipients enjoyed a day discussing their latest projects while sipping mimosas. The decadent beachside brunch reminded the attendees that despite the grit and grime show business brings, if you do it right, you can live the charmed life— at least for one afternoon.
But clinking champagne glasses after receiving accolades was never the intention of going into this business for most. Jessie Buckley says how she still is shocked to be receiving the recognition.
“You never think these things will be something in your path,” Buckley said. “I was riding my bike in London when they called me so I was kind of trying not to die while being very excited. It’s a real honor.”
The NBFF awarded four fan favorites for Artist of Distinction: Melissa Rauch, Stephanie Beatriz, Allen Leech and Tracy Letts.
Melissa Rauch spoke about life after The Big Bang Theory saying she’s “forever grateful” for the experience.
Although bittersweet, Rauch says that Big Bang will always hold a special place in her heart. However, the entire cast is excited for the next chapter.
Rauch’s newest film, The Laundromat, stars the iconic Meryl Streep. Rauch says that working with Streep was “a dream of dreams.”
“Everything that you have thought she is, she is,” Rauch says. “She is absolutely magical and one of the loveliest human beings, of course, in addition to being one of the greatest actresses of all time. I just kept pinching myself. It was amazing.”
Stephanie Beatriz who has caught attention for her badass role of Detective Rosa in the hit show Brooklyn-nine-nine as well as her role in the upcoming In The Heights, talked about the importance of being recognized for her work as a Latina woman. She says twenty years ago the career she’s having today might not have been possible.
“I think in spaces where historically there haven’t been people of color, I think it’s important to recognize that we’re creating an open channel for artist to come through for artists that maybe haven’t been invited,” said Beatriz.
Variety’s list of Top 10 Actors to Watch included Cynthia Erivo who just starred in Harriet— the first movie ever made about Harriet Tubman. Although it’s too early to tell, the film already has gotten some Oscar buzz. If Erivo were to win, she would be the youngest person to ever claim the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) title.
“[it’s] kind of strange and crazy and awesome all at once,” Erivo said. “But it’s amazing… yeah.”
The list also included Maya Hawke (Stranger Things and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood); Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Luce and Waves); Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Ford v Ferrari, Honey Boy); Rob Morgan (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Just Mercy); Camila Morrone (Mickey and the Bear); Glen Powell (Hidden Figures, Top Gun: Maverick); Margaret Qualley (Fosse/Verdon, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Seberg); Da’Vine Joy Randolph (On Becoming a God in Central Florida)
Alfre Woodard who played in the Apple Plus series See as well as the drama Clemency this year, received The Icon Award for her successful career in film and television.
Woodard briefly reminicised on her past times, playing vastly different characters and her travels around the world but was intentional when saying she lives day to day.
“I stay in the present… I don’t think of my career. I think of what I’m doing right now,” Woodard said.
Her advice to other women looking to make it in the industry? Stay true to yourself.
“Don’t imagine what someone else wants to get what you want,” said Woodard.
She stressed the importance of being authentic in who you are as a female. Despite any adversity and societal pressures that come with labels towards females in the entertainment industry, she says that you’ll never take offense if you comfortable with who you are.
“Let it roll off of you because you might have tough roads to walk but who else would not want to be as brilliant and so full of fire and full of knowledge as a woman…especially a woman of color.”