Christopher Plummer is easily one of the most well-known and respected actors of our time. He is also an incredibly active 82-year-old man with a schedule to rival that of Clint Eastwood’s: He's completing press rounds for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” can be seen in the film version of his one-man show “Barrymore,” is developing another one-man show, "A Word or Two," and has settled in as the frontrunner for the Best Support Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a widower who comes out of the closet in the later part of his life in Mike Mills’s “Beginners.”

Plumber just received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his work in the film, among other kudos, and has now added anoter feather to his pre-Oscar cap. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced that Plumber will receive the Modern Master Award at this year's festival. SBIFF describes the award as its highest honor, created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the industry.

“My fondest memories of going to the movies and the theater involve Mr. Plummer and I’m so grateful he’s agreed to this honor,” festival director Roger Durling said in the press release.  “He is one of the greatest and most cherished ones – and he gave us his best in 'Beginners.'”

Though Plumber has been working in theater and film for 60 years and followed his cinematic debut in Sidney Lumet’s “Stage Struck” with memorable roles in films as varied as “The Sound of Music” and “Twelve Monkeys,” the only Academy Award nomination he has received (thus far) was for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for his portrayal of Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station.”

He is now the forerunner to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in a film that simply passed under many people's radars. Of course, the principal goal and benefit of Oscar buzz is increased revenue for a film, so perhaps we will see a boost in home sales and rentals for "Beginners," if not a small re-release. It is somewhat interesting to note that the “actors' actor,” John Barrymore, who Plummer portrayed on Broadway and now on film, went through the entirety of his career without winning a major award. He was posthumously granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, however.

The festivities will take place at the historic Arlington Theater Saturday, January 28, 2012. If you are local, and so inclined, tickets for the Modern Master Award, presented by lynda.com, are available now and can be purchased through www.sbfilmfestival.org or by calling 805-963-0023. Past recipients include: Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan.

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