Bruce Dern to Receive SBIFF’s Modern Master Award

Posted on Jan 28 by Leslie Dinaberg

We received word today that  Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will honor Academy Award-nominated actor Bruce Dern (who was so fabulous in Nebraska) with the Modern Master Award  on Saturday, February 8, at the  Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St..

The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by SBIFF. It was created in 1995  “to pay tribute to an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry.” Dern joins a prestigious list of past recipients including Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett (who will receive this year’s Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on February 1 at the Arlington), Clint Eastwood, Christopher Plummer and James Cameron.

Emma Thompson was slated to receive the Modern Master Award, but according to a press release she is “not able to be in attendance as she is required for rehearsal in London on the New York Philharmonic staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which will be directed by Lonny Price.”

Thompson, who currently stars in Saving Mr. Banks, was not nominated for an Oscar this year.

Dern will be honored for his distinguished career, which includes his most recent role as the headstrong Woody in Alexander Payne’s critically acclaimed film Nebraska. Also being honored by SBIFF this year is Dern’s Nebraska co-star June Squibb (and fellow Academy Award nominee), who is one of the Virtuosos being honored at the Arlington on February 4.

“We’re deeply humbled and grateful to Bruce Dern for accepting this award—he’s not only a Modern Master —he’s a hero. Year after year, performance after performance, Bruce Dern has enthralled audiences and with Nebraska he has given us a character for the ages in ‘Woody Grant.’ It’s his time and we’re delighted to honor him,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Through decades of critically acclaimed performances, Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. A celebrated stage actor, Dern was trained by famed director Elia Kazan at The Actor’s Studio and made his film debut in Kazan’s Wild River (1960).  He went on to work with director Roger Corman and appeared in several of his classic and decade defining films including Wild Angels. He received critical success for films such as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? opposite Jane Fonda and Drive, He Said, directed by Jack Nicholson, and went down in history for his role as Long Hair in The Cowboys in which he became the first man ever to kill John Wayne on screen.

His performance in Hal Ashby’s Coming Home that earned him both an Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination. Dern co-starred with Charlize Theron in Monster, one of the most critically acclaimed independent films of all time. Most recently Dern has worked with directors Francis Ford Coppola in Twixt and Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the tribute click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg


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