Following his Academy Award nomination for helming “American Hustle,” the Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival announced Friday that David O. Russell will receive its director laurel.

Executive director Roger Durling said, “It was at the first-ever screening of ‘American Hustle’ for the SBIFF Cinema Society last November that I knew precisely who should receive our Outstanding Director Award.”

“Now I’m glad I can let the cat out of the bag,” Durling continued. “Russell has matured into one of the most essential voices in film today.  His deeply personal trilogy, comprised of ‘The Fighter,’Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle,’ tap deeply at the core of the American dream where anyone should be guaranteed the opportunity of a second chance, of reinvention and triumph.”

Russell’s three most recent films have earned him 25 Academy Award nominations. “American Hustle,” which has earned a total of 10 Oscar noms, tied with Alfono Cuarón’s “Gravity” for the most nominations.

The festival runs Jan. 30-Feb. 9 and features independent and international films as well as several world and U.S. premieres. The tribute to Russell will be held Jan. 31 in the Arlington Theatre.