Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present its eighth annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film to Forest Whitaker on December 15. 

Oscar-winner Whitaker has gained awards buzz for his turn as longtime White House butler Cecil Gaines in "Lee Daniels' The Butler." He was also selected this year as one of Indiewire's Influencers

He joins previous recipients Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta and Kirk Douglas himself. The Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film serves as a fundraiser for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, running January 30 - February 9, 2014. More information is on the fest's website