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Exclusive: Jennifer Lawrence to receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award from the Santa Barbara Film Festival

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Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Playbook' (Photo: The Weinstein Company)

2012 is looking like it will be remembered as the Year of the Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence is still only 22 years old, but she had more success this year than most actors do in their entire careers. She starred in one of the top-grossing films of 2012, the record-breaking "The Hunger Games." Then she followed that smash hit with a critically acclaimed and Independent Spirit Award-nominated turn as a troubled young widow in director David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook."

It was on the strength of these two powerful and very different performances that the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that Jennifer Lawrence will be the recipient of their Outstanding Performer of the Year Award.  Lawrence will be honored at the 28th installment of the festival on February 2 at the historic Arlington Theater.

[Related: Matthew McConaughey, 'Moonrise Kingdom' score big with the Independent Spirit Awards nominations]

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling stated, "Ms. Lawrence impressed us earlier this year in 'The Hunger Games,' but has now left us moonstruck with her career-defining performance in 'Silver Lining Playbook.'" He went on to add, "Naming her our Outstanding Performer of the Year is an understatement."

Lawrence joins a rather sterling group of former recipients of the award, including Viola Davis in 2012, James Franco in 2011, Angelina Jolie in 2008, Helen Mirren in 2007, and Heath Ledger in 2006.  The award also solidifies Lawrence as a sure-fire contender for an Oscar this year, as past honoree Colin Firth (2010) and Penelope Cruz (2009) went on to take top honors in their categories.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will also be honoring Robert De Niro next month as he receives the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. And "Argo" director and star Ben Affleck will be given the Modern Master Award at the festival, which runs from January 24 through February 3.  Find out more at sbiff.org.

See the trailer for 'Silver Linings Playbook':

'Silver Linings Playbook' Theatrical Trailer

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