Martin Scorsese Receives Santa Barbara Fest Honor

“Hugo” director will be given the festival’s American Riviera Award

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has landed a big one on the awards circuit: director Martin Scorsese, who will receive the festival's American Riviera Award on Monday, January 30.

Martin ScorseseScorsese's 3D film "Hugo" was named the year's best film by the National Board of Review, and it and the director have figured heavily in the critics' awards handed out so far.

“Honoring Scorsese has been a dream of SBIFF's for many years,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling in a press release announcing the award. “We're thrilled that it's happening during a year when this contemporary master of cinema is breaking new ground with 'Hugo.'”

Previous winners of the American Riviera Award, which SBIFF says "was established to honor an artist who has had a strong influence on American cinema," include Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock., Mickey Rourke and Forest Whitaker. Typically, the award has gone to an actor in the thick of the year's awards race.

Scorsese has eight Oscar nominations for Best Director and one win, for "The Departed," His iconic films include "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas" and "Casino." "Hugo" is viewed as a significant departure for the director, although its kid-friendly story  is mixed with an affectionate view of cinema history and an ardent plea for film preservation, a longtime passion of Scorsese's.

Other recipients of honors at this year's SBIFF include Viola Davis and the stars of "The Artist," Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from January 26 to February 5, 2012.