Leslie Odom Jr. And More Honoured With SBIFF Variety Artisans Award

With awards season in full swing, the honours are flying fast.

This week, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is honouring the recipients of its 7th annual Variety Artisans Award.

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Recipients include Nicolas Becker (Sound of Metal), Joshua James Richards (Nomadland), Donald Graham Burt & Jan Pascale (Mank), Alexandra Byrne (Emma), Alan Baumgarten (Trial of Chicago 7), Mia Neal (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Sean Faden (Mulan), Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth (One Night in Miami), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Mank).

Talking about his original song “Speak Now” for the film “One Night In Miami”, Odom said, “[Regina King] showed us an early cut of her beautiful film and we went to work… We only had two weeks… If you use your time well a week is plenty of time, there is a lot of hours in a week. We just kept coming back to it and making it better every time we came back. Doing our best anyway, trying to be artisans, you know.”

Another big moment for Odom was getting to sing Sam Cooke’s iconic “A Change is Gonna Come” for the film.

“You get to that point in the script and actors are weird because there’s one part of you that’s like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to do that’ and the other part of you is like, ‘but no time soon though’ like ‘I don’t want to do that for a long time!’ You’re terrified and also very excited for the chance to honour Sam, to sing that masterpiece,” he said. “Thank god I had all of the support on set I needed to do my best.”

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Sharing what movies most inspire him, Odom said, “My parents thought it was really important to take us to see Spike Lee movies on the weekends that they came out…I do remember Malcolm X being a high watermark for Spike as a filmmaker at that time. I think because I had a context for the filmmaker too, I knew a little of Spike, I knew a little of Denzel, so just to see them achieve new heights had a profound impact on me and I don’t think I’ve ever shaken that.”

Talking about his music for the film Mank, Nine Inch Nails musician Reznor said, “We thought it [Mank] would require us, and it did, to move into a different lane that we’re not that accustomed to, in this case, every note being played by other musicians in an orchestral setting, in a different style, with the added challenge of it happening during a pandemic.”

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