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Robert Downey Jr. hailed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It's day two of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

This is a very exciting evening for movie goers, especially because Robert Downey Jr. is here. 

Fans gathered at the Arlington Theater several hours early to see the cinema icon.

"I’m a big fan of Robert Downey Jr., because he’s one of my favorite actors for almost 16 years since I saw the first Iron Man movie," said visitor Gabe Donova of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

During a ceremony at the theater, Downey Jr. received the Maltin Modern Master Award.

This award is considered the highest accolade, at the film festival.  

The ceremony included an in-person conversation between Downey Jr. and legendary film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, for whom the award is named. 

The duo will discuss Downey’s five-decade acting career, and his rise to becoming one of the most critically acclaimed actors to date, culminating in his recent performance as Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s global cinematic phenomenon, Oppenheimer.

The actor has amassed more than 110 acting credits over the course of his career, including the title character in the blockbuster Iron Man franchise.

He earned a Golden Globe Award for his lead performance in the action-adventure Sherlock Holmes, and two Academy Award nominations for Tropic Thunder, and his powerful portrayal of Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's 1992 biopic Chaplin. Upcoming acting projects include Max’s TV adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, in which he plays an impressive four supporting roles, and the Paramount Pictures remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller Vertigo.
“Robert Downey Jr. has staged one of the most spectacular second acts in show business history...and we in the audience are the beneficiaries. He commands the screen without any visible effort, which is perhaps the greatest feat of all,” said Leonard Maltin.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is an IMAX®-shot epic thriller that explores the paradox of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it. 

Downey Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission who helped shape America’s post-war nuclear policy, and as Oppenheimer’s chief administration adversary, led the effort to revoke his security clearance and discredit him.
The Modern Master Award was established in 1995. 

Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Academy Award winning actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Christopher Plummer, and acclaimed filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood and Peter Jackson.

"I came from Hemet took four hours and it was a long trip but I think it was well worth it. I’m here to see Robert Downey Junior I’m excited," said visitor Christopher Hernandez of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

For more information on the Santa Barbara International Festival, visit:

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Patricia Martellotti

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