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S.B. fest burnishes ‘Aviator’ star

DiCaprio awarded Platinum Award

SANTA BARBARA — Leonardo DiCaprio looked back on 16 films in 17 years Sunday at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

A visibly humbled DiCaprio, who received the fest’s Platinum Award, said he was amazed at “how wiry and tiny” he was in “This Boy’s Life,” the film that launched his career.

“These films are my life memories, my college education,” DiCaprio said. “And what better professors than Lasse Hallstrom, Baz Luhrmann, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese?”

DiCaprio regaled the crowd with dead-on impressions of Allen, Luhrmann and Robert De Niro, and shared anecdotes about celebrity in unexpected places — like the Brazilian rainforest, where naked natives in a mud-hut recognized him from “Titanic.”

Scorsese, who presented DiCaprio with the nod, dubbed him “the actor of his generation,” noting that without him, “Gangs of New York” would never have been made. Scorsese praised DiCaprio’s “relentless energy,” which he said had infused his own work with fresh vigor.

Revelers then proceeded to toast “The Aviator” thesp at the Bacara after-bash.

The fest also toasted fellow Oscar nominee Annette Bening Saturday.

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