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Pitt will be honored on Jan. 22 at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre as part of the festival’s 35th edition, which will run Jan. 15-25, 2020.
The 55-year-old, a superstar for the past 25 years, who won a best picture Oscar for producing 2013’s 12 Years a Slave and has been nominated for acting Oscars for 1995’s 12 Monkeys and 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is widely considered to be a frontrunner for this season’s best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a fictional stuntman in Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also garnered strong notices this year for his work in James Gray‘s Ad Astra.
SBIFF’s Modern Master Award, the fest’s highest honor, was created in 1995 to celebrate “an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multifaceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry.” In 2015, it was renamed after film critic Leonard Maltin, who has moderated its presentation since its inception.
Previous recipients include Glenn Close, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, 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.
“Brad Pitt wears the mantle of movie star with good grace,” Maltin said in a statement. “He’s been giving great performances for several decades, but he makes it look so easy that I fear he’s been taken for granted. After the one-two punch of Ad Astra and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, this year he’s an ideal choice to be presented the Maltin Modern Master Award.”
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