The tribute announcements keep coming for the upcoming Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Today the fest announced the recipient of this year's Cinema Vanguard Award, given in tandem for the first time this year, to "The Artist" stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.

The honor is given annually "in recognition of an actor who has forged his/her own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film." I guess that sums up what Dujardin and Bejo did with the film, but it's unique amid the flurry of recent recipients: Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ryan Gosling.

Anyway, festival director Roger Durling made his case in the press release: "In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Bérénice's acting is an amazing pas des deux both physically and emotionally - recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred."

Said Dujardin, “We are grateful to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for this incredible honor. Delivering a silent film to the 21st century is no easy task, and it would have in no way been possible without the talent and dedication of the incredible ensemble of actors we had the pleasure of working with:  James Cromwell, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle and Malcolm McDowell.  This award is just as much for them as it is for us.”

The award will be presented on Saturday, February 4 at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Viola Davis was previously announced as recipient of this year's Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. Other designations will come, including the American Riviera Award, the Modern Master Award (which has to go to Martin Scorsese, right? - I guess it could be argued a couple of different ways) and the Virtuoso Awards.

The 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs January 26 through February 5.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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