Wednesday night marked the SBIFF’s first-ever Virtuoso Award, bringing with it a load of talent that included Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Gone Baby Gone), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), James McAvoy (Atonement), Ellen Page (Juno), and Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), and a full house of peeps who’d managed to catch a second (or third, or fourth, fifth: um, what day is it, again?) wind. Checking in at the Lobero with a couple of pals, I tried to work some magic, (.e., score a couple bonus bracelets for the afterparty) and eventually found success, though my hookup left me with the following instruction: “If anyone asks, they fell off the truck.” Little did said hookup know that I can’t tell a lie to save my life, nor am I particularly cautious - which is to say,I promptly blew our collective cover. (Happily, the bracelets went unconfiscated.)
The event featured a series of brief one-on-ones with each of the Virtuosos, beginning with Casey Affleck and democratically proceeding alphabetically. I think it’s safe to say that each of the five wooed the crowd: Affleck was funny, cute, and thoughtful, giving interesting answers about his work in The Assassination, and joking about how he scored his role in brother Ben’s Gone Baby Gone. “He asked me for this actor’s number, so I gave him the wrong number, and then he asked me to do it.” Cotillard was beautiful, in that semi-annoying, perfectly classic Frenchwoman way, and utterly charming; earning some squeals. McDreamy - uh, McAvoy - was hilarious, speaking in his thick Scottish brogue (punctuated with frequent potty-mouthisms), about how heavily choreographed his sex scene in Atonement was (I could have listened to it all night:). Page was soft-spoken, but articulate beyond her (20) years, and clearly in love with everything about Juno - the script, writer Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman, and her character. And Ryan was beautiful, if her knockout dress a little fancy for the occasion: “I feel kind of overdressed, but after that role, I take any chance I can get!” She said the question she’s always asked is whether she has children, “And when I say no, they always look relieved!” she said, earning a huge laugh from the crowd. “See, you are too!” she exclaimed. Ivan Reitman presented the awards, saying that, though this may have been their breakout year, these actors have shown they’re no one-hit wonders - which bodes well for them, and for us.
And then, we were off to the Stateside for the afterparty. My companions safely inside, all bracelet sins were forgotten, if not forgiven, and my luck continued to improve when The Durls whisked me upstairs to the VIP area, where we stood looking over the balcony at the crowd below. We chatted for a spell, and before I knew it, I was being led over to James McAvoy, to snap a shot of him and Roger, and, you know, swoon at those incredible blue eyes, accent, the way the word “fuck” sounds so charming when pronounced “fook”:
It was an impressive turnout up there in the hot zone; Amy Ryan and Ivan Reitman mingled, while Casey Affleck smoked. I debated offering him the nicotine patch from my arm, but worried that, perhaps in Bostonian culture, that might be considered rude. One never knows. I tore myself away eventually, heading downstairs to check out the scene, and get a closer look at the breakdancers going off on the floor in the main room to the sounds of two deejays, four turntables, and no microphones. I reconnected with my pal, and we made our way to the red room, where we hung until it was time to call it a night. I was tired and ready to do some McDreamin’.