Santa Barbara Film Fest: Johnny Depp, 'Black Mass' Star, to Receive Modern Master Award

Johnny Depp Horizontal - H 2014
AP Images

Johnny Depp Horizontal - H 2014


Johnny Depp, the veteran actor who has been revered by critics and audiences for a quarter-century, will receive the Maltin Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the fest announced on Wednesday. The 52-year-old, who has received three acting Oscar noms and most recently received great notices for his portrayal of mobster Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper's Black Mass, will be honored on Feb. 6 at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre as part of the festival's 31st edition, which runs Feb. 3-13.


SBIFF's Modern Master Award — which in 2015 was named after film critic Leonard Maltin, who has moderated its presentation since its inception — is the festival's highest honor. Established in 1995, it was created to celebrate "an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multifaceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry."

Previous recipients include 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.

“Johnny Depp is a true embodiment of a modern master," said SBIFF festival director Roger Durling in a statement. "He has had a long and storied career that has shown his commitment to taking on compelling and dynamic roles. But in the gripping film Black Mass, under the skillful direction of Scott Cooper, Johnny Depp delivers his defining performance to date."

The fest will announce its other honorees in the coming days and weeks.