Last night festival goers were treated to the stunning presence of the much beloved Saoirse Ronan as she was honored with the Santa Barbara Award. Ronan arrived at the Arlington Theatre, promptly on time, and graciously smiled for selfies and scrawled her signature for dozens of doe-eyed fans who didn’t seem at all put out to be missing the last minutes of the Super Bowl. Chatting with Anne Thompson (of IndieWire), Ronan was charmingly approachable (“I’m really nervous guys, I don’t know why!”), humble, funny, and insightful — everything you’d hope an actor would be as they discuss their extraordinary career.
The theater was packed with a buzzing and lively crowd, laughing freely and giving countless rounds of applause as Ronan recalled her childhood roles, her love and gratitude for her parents, and her natural attraction to film. As Thompson led Ronan down memory lane, venturing through each of Ronan’s most celebrated roles (Briony in Atonement, Hanna in Hanna, Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel to name a few), the room was awash with warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia and awe at this woman’s incredible acting chops which she has possessed and refined since her childhood.
Though it was a joy to see and hear Ronan herself, the highlight of the evening was Timothée Chalamet’s heartfelt and buoyant presentation of the award. With love and admiration highlighting his boyish grin, Chalamet recalled memories of his first encounters with Ronan, he, nervous, and she, kind and welcoming. As his introduction of the award came to a close, Chalamet said this: “Saoirse, I wanted you to think I was cool, because you are so fucking cool.” Truer words are seldom spoken at a podium. Stay cool, Saoirse Ronan. Come back soon.