The 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will bestow its highest festival honor, The Modern Master Award, to Michael Keaton who is receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of a down-on-his-luck Hollywood star, who is trying to resurge himself on Broadway in Fox Searchlight’s Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance). The tribute to Keaton will take place on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Arlington Theatre. SBIFF runs from January 27 – February 7, 2015.
The Modern Master Award, which turns 20 next year, honors those individuals who have enriched culture through their multi-faced accomplishments in the film industry. Previous recipients include Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Plummer and James Cameron. Bruce Dern, who was nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in Nebraska, received the honor in January of this year after Emma Thompson, who was originally announced to receive the kudo, was unavailable due to rehearsals for Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in London.
In a statement, SBIFF executive director Roger Durling commented, “There is no actor more befitting of the Modern Master Award than the legendary Michael Keaton. His performance in Birdman is tremendous, showing the range of decade’s long experience.”
Keaton first cut his teeth in TV on such shows as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and CBS’ Working Stiffs, before becoming a marquee star in such films as Night Shift, Mr. Mom and The Dream Team. He first teamed with director Tim Burton, starring as the title zany ghost in Beetlejuice before playing the caped crusader in the director’s Batman and Batman Returns. In the midst of a successful comedy film career, Keaton took a departure, playing a successful real estate salesman who is battling a coke addiction in Clean And Sober (left). The turn earned Keaton the 1989 ‘Best Actor’ award from the National Society of Film Critics. The actor received a Golden Globe nod for his performance in HBO’s telefilm Live From Baghdad. Keaton also landed a SAG nomination in the lead actor TV miniseries category for his work on TNT’s CIA-Cold War story The Company. Other credits include Jackie Brown, The Other Guys, Penthouse North, Robocop and Need For Speed.