Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Victoria and Abdul' Star Judi Dench Receives Kirk Douglas Award

The 82-year-old was feted by Jeff Bridges, Armie Hammer and Ali Fazal.
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Armie Hammer, Jeff Bridges and Ali Fazal flank Dame Judi Dench on Thursday night

There is nothing like a dame!

Dame Judi Dench, the legendary British actress who is currently vying for her eighth Oscar nomination, for her performance as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears' Victoria and Abdul, was feted with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film on Thursday night at a black-tie gala dinner.

The event, which took place at the Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara, with all proceeds going to SBIFF's free year-round educational programs, featured tributes to the 82-year-old from her admirer Jeff Bridges, her J. Edgar costar (and this season's Call Me By Your Name best supporting actor contender) Armie Hammer and her Victoria and Abdul costar Ali Fazal.

Afterwards, Dench took the stage to a standing ovation and spoke about what an honor it is to be associated with Douglas, whose entire family she once spent time with in Italy.

Dench, who will turn 83 on Dec. 9 (the same day on which Douglas will turn 101), is best known for the seven films that have brought her Oscar attention — Mrs. Brown (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998, resulting in her one win), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2003) — and for appearing as M in eight Bond films between 1995 and 2015.

Past recipients of SBIFF's Kirk Douglas Award, which goes "to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both," include Douglas, John Travolta, Ed Harris, Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Lange, Jane Fonda and, last year, Warren Beatty.

The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run Jan. 31-Feb. 10.

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