Sacha Baron Cohen To Receive Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award At SBIFF

Sacha Baron Cohen in 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' Netflix via YouTube

Sacha Baron Cohen told Deadline this week that he chased the role of Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 for over a decade before the project came together under Aaron Sorkin’s direction. That perseverance paid off.

On April 7, Baron Cohen will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The actor receives the award not just for Netflix’s Chicago 7, but for his wildly successful sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm at Amazon Studios.

SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling noted that in 2020, the actor “twice was able to capture our interest, our imagination as well as the zeitgeist. His work in both films is timely, urgent and nuanced.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized and to stand in the company of such incredible past recipients,” said Baron Cohen. “I’m very grateful to Roger, SBIFF and everyone who believes that cinema, whether drama or satire, can shine a light on injustice and bigotry and even provide a laugh or two along the way.”

In his Chicago 7 review, Deadline’s Pete Hammond called Baron Cohen’s performance as real-life yippie activist Abbie Hoffman “his best film outing to date.” The actor’s work in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was, according to Hammond, “proof that Baron Cohen is a comic genius (and a very brave one), a new-age Peter Sellers capable of anything for laughs, underlined with sharp political satire unafraid to go too far.”

The Outstanding Performer of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film. Past recipients of the award include Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place March 31st through April 10th, 2021. More information as well as festival passes and tickets will be available at

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