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It's a nice bit of recognition for one of the film's more dynamic performances. Christoph Waltz has received the bulk of the precursor awards attention, owed plenty to his co-lead status, while DiCaprio and co-star Samuel L. Jackson have been largely ignored. DiCaprio did, however, pick up an early prize from the National Board of Review.
"We are thrilled to be honoring Leonardo DiCaprio with the American Riviera Award, in a year where he has shown us another layer of his immeasurable talent," festival director Roger Durling said via press release. "His performance in 'Django Unchained' reaffirms that he is the most relevant actor of this generation."
Previous winners of the award include Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke and Tommy Lee Jones. The event will take place on February 1 at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs January 24 - February 3.