The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor Kristin Scott Thomas with the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 24th edition of the Fest, which runs January 22-February 1, 2009. "A masterful performance by a British actress in a French film and a triumphant Broadway debut in Chekhov in the same year - Kristin Scott Thomas is in a league by herself and an artistic force to be reckoned with," said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling in a statement. The award was created "in recognition of an actor who has forged his/her own path - taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film." Formally known as The Independent Award, it was bestowed last year to Ryan Gosling. [Peter Knegt]