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Santa Barbara Film Festival Honors Saoirse Ronan, Thanks Rescue Workers

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has selected Saoirse Ronan as recipient its Santa Barbara award for her role in “Lady Bird” — and thanked rescue workers in the Montecito area hit by deadly mudslides.

The festival made the announcement Friday in the aftermath of this week’s devastation with 17 declared dead, more than 40 people missing and hundreds of homes destroyed or badly damaged.

“The Santa Barbra International Film Festival would like to thank the city of Santa Barbara’s first responders and emergency authorities that have assisted with the relief from the fires and flooding that have recently devastated the city,” the festival said. “Their bravery and sacrifice cannot be overstated in providing relief during what has been an increasingly difficult time for Santa Barbara.”

The award had previously been called the Montecito award, a trophy is given to “a person in the entertainment industry who has made a great contribution to film.”

Past recipients of the award include Isabelle Huppert, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Condon, and Naomi Watts. Ronan will received the award on Feb. 4 at the Arlington Theatre.

“In ‘Lady Bird,’ Saoirse Ronan has once again proven that she is a force of nature and one of her generation’s most exciting young talents,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said. “She embodies her characters with a poignant accuracy and ease every time she appears on screen.”

Ronan’s credits also include “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Hanna,” “The Lovely Bones,” and “The Way Back.” She has received Academy Award nominations for her performances in “Atonement” and “Brooklyn,” and recently was awarded the Golden Globe for best actress in a motion picture — musical or comedy for her performance in “Lady Bird.”

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