Ryan Gosling will receive the first Independent Award at the 23rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), which runs from January 24-February 3 2008.

The Independent Award was established to recognise an actor who has made 'a significant and unique contribution to independent film' and will be presented to Gosling on January 29.

Gosling currently stars in the drama Lars And The Real Girl and earned an Oscar nomination earlier this year for his performance as a drug addicted high school teacher in Half Nelson.

'In my opinion, Ryan has become the best actor of his generation by making bold and well-intended choices,' SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said. 'We celebrate him not only for his acting prowess but for the indelible and mature choices he's made - a true independent artist.'

Gosling's credits include The Believer, The Notebook, Fracture, Stay and The United States Of Leland.

For further details about the festival visit www.sbfilmfestival.org.