Not ‘Just Ken’ Anymore

Following the conclusion of the strike, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival wasted no time in announcing its first award for the upcoming season. Ryan Gosling, whose performance in the highly acclaimed film "Barbie" has been generating significant Oscar buzz from the beginning, has been chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 16th annual Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence in Film. The award will be presented to him at a black-tie dinner held at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, on January 13, 2024.

Not only is this event a way to honor outstanding talent in the film industry, but it will also serve as a fundraiser to support the year-round educational programs of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It is worth noting that this will be the second time the award is given out since the passing of the iconic Kirk Douglas. Last year, the honor went to the Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh. Ryan Gosling has always been a formidable presence in both dramatic and comedic roles on screen. However, this year, his portrayal of Ken in "Barbie" has been universally praised and has truly cemented his status as a cinematic powerhouse. The film has garnered the attention and admiration of critics and moviegoers worldwide, contributing to the buzz surrounding Gosling's potential Oscar win.

Roger Durling, the Executive Director of SBIFF, expressed his admiration for Gosling's achievement and stated, "Ryan Gosling has long been both a dramatic and comedic force in front of the camera. This year, thanks to his universally hailed, triumphant performance as Ken in Barbie — a film that truly demanded the attention of critics and moviegoers around the world — he has become a true cinematic powerhouse."

Gosling's illustrious career already includes Academy Award nominations for his work in "Half Nelson" and "La La Land", for which he won a Golden Globe award. In the past, he has been recognized by SBIFF as the Outstanding Performer of the Year in 2017 for his role in "La La Land" and received the Cinema Vanguard Award in 2008 for his performance in "Lars and the Real Girl." The 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, featuring a range of cinematic experiences, is scheduled to take place from February 7 to February 17, 2024. Passes are currently available for purchase on, and the lineup and schedule of films will be announced in January 2024.

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