The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has chosen actor Mickey Rourke to receive this year’s American Riviera Award. Rourke joins the ranks of former American Riviera winners Forest Whitaker, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The award comes closely after his leading performance in the film The Wrestler set to be released by Fox Searchlight Pictures on December 17.

“It’s appropriate that the American Riviera Award that always goes to a U.S. actor should be given this year to Mickey Rourke, who has shown us with his performance in The Wrestler to never underestimate a true artist and his power to reinvent himself,” said festival Executive Director Roger Durling.

Rourke has starred in films such as Sin City, Pope of Greenwich Village, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Angel Heart and costarred in Domino with Keira Knightley.

The ceremony honoring Rourke will take place on Friday, January 30, 2009, at the Arlington Theatre. It is included in a series of events for the 24th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which will run from January 22 through February 1.

Tickets to this event are on sale now and will be discounted 20 percent until December 12. Get more information at


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