Thirteen years ago, Santa Barbara International Film Festival head honchos decided to create an award that honored someone who has achieved longevity, esteem, and acclaim working in cinema. Deemed the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film — appropriately named for the multi-talented actor, producer, director, and author, who set the Hollywood bar high — the honor has since been bestowed on equally impressive folks, including Dame Judi Dench, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert DeNiro.
This year the recognition goes to Hugh Jackman, a man who is as adept at playing a physically enhanced mutant (he introduced audiences to Wolverine in 2000’s X-Men) as he is singing and dancing his way to a Golden Globe nomination (as he did in 2017’s The Greatest Showman). In addition to his work in celluloid, Jackman has spent much time on the stage, starring in everything from Beauty and the Beast (Gaston) to Oklahoma! (Curly McLain). “He’s an exceptional talent of stage and screen, and one of the nicest people in the business,” said the legendary Douglas. “It’s my honor to have my name linked with his on this year’s award,” said Douglas.
Jackman will be feted at a fundraising gala on Monday, November 19, at Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The 34th annual SBIFF takes place Wednesday, January 30-February 9, 2019. See sbiff.org.