Michael Keaton to receive Santa Barbara film festival’s highest honor

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced the first of this year's many award recipients for the upcoming 30th anniversary edition of the event. They've kicked things off with their most prestigious honor, the Modern Master Award, and hey – when you've got a guy like Michael Keaton in the thick of an Oscar hunt, who better to receive such an accolade?

The “Birdman” star will be honored with one of the festival's patented evening tributes on Jan. 31, 2015 at the historic Arlington Theatre. These are always wonderful affairs, deep dives into an artist's career with clip packages and the whole spiel. It's a stark contrast to other events that aim to get as much talent on and off the stage during a given event as possible, and with Keaton, there will be so much to chew on.

Keaton's performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest “is tremendous, showing the range of decades-long experience,” festival director Roger Durling said. Indeed. And it'll be an easy commute for the actor, too: he has a home in Santa Barbara, after all.

Recent recipients of the Modern Master Award include Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Bruce Dern, Clint Eastwood, James Cameron and Christopher Plummer.

The 30th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 27 – Feb. 7, 2015.