The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that it will bestow its highest honor, the Modern Master Award, to “Saving Mr. Banks” star Emma Thompson at the 29th edition of the fest on Feb. 8, 2014.
Established in 1995, the honor was created to pay tribute to an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the film industry. And Thompson certainly applies. She is, after all, the only individual to have ever won an Oscar for both writing (“Sense and Sensibility”) and acting (“Howards End”).
Festival director Roger Durling called attention to that feat, noting that Thompson “exemplifies the spirit of the Modern Master.” She is a multi-hyphenate of the highest order, and her work in “Saving Mr. Banks” – a delicate balance of stiff upper lip and restrained emotion – is a wonderful occasion to give her a tip of the hat.
Past recipients of the award include Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Plummer and James Cameron. It’s about time we got another lady into that mix, and Thompson feels right at home in that group.
The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, 2014.