By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 13, 2012 at 12:27PM
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (January 24 - February 3) will honor Ben Affleck with the Modern Master Award on January 26 in the historic Arlington Theatre. The award, which in the past has gone to the likes of Christopher Plummer, James Cameron, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney, can function as an Oscar push for likely nominees.
The Modern Master Award is the highest honor at the Santa Barbara fest, and was created in 1995 to honor individuals who have "enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry." Affleck's third feature (after "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town"), "Argo," is a likely Oscar contender. He directed, produced and starred.
Other celebrity tributes at SBIFF include the American Riviera Award for outstanding achievement in American film (Martin Scorsese and Annette Benning have been past recipients), the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award (previously going to Viola Davis and Colin Firth) and the Virtuosos Award (past recipients include Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy and Demian Bachir).