Actor Brad Pitt is set to receive the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award at the 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). Pitt will be honored on Jan. 22 for his long-standing contributions to the film industry, most recently gracing the silver screen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” from Columbia Pictures and “Ad Astra” for New Regency.

The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin.

Maltin will return for his 29th year to moderate the evening.

“Brad Pitt wears the mantle of movie star with good grace,” said Maltin. “He’s been giving great performances for several decades, but he makes it look so easy that I fear he’s been taken for granted. After the one-two punch of ‘Ad Astra’ and ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,’ this year he’s an ideal choice to be presented the Maltin Modern Master Award.”

Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.

The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

In James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” when a mysterious life-threatening event strikes Earth, astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) goes on a dangerous mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones) and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

Past recipients of the Modern Master Award include Glenn Close, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney and Peter Jackson.

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place Jan. 15 through 25. For more information, and to purchase tickets, festival passes and packages, visit
About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and educational organization. Over the past 34 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., attracting 95,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200-plus films, tributes and symposiums.

— Tyler Carr for Santa Barbara International Film Festival.