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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 February 2006, 15:32 GMT
Clooney picks up festival tribute
George Clooney
Clooney, 44, plays a disillusioned CIA agent in Syriana
Triple Oscar nominee George Clooney has been awarded the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

"I don't think it's brave to make films like these," said Clooney, who has been hailed for his political film-making.

"I'm terrified of not making films like these. I'm afraid of waking up at 70 years and saying, 'I'm Batman' again".

The 44-year-old star has two Academy Award nominations for directing and co-scripting Good Night, and Good Luck, and an acting nomination for Syriana.

Middle East

Good Night, and Good Luck focuses on US broadcaster Edward R Murrow and his on-air confrontations with Senator McCarthy, who led the anti-communist "witch hunts" in the 1950s.

Syriana is a politically-charged drama centred on the Middle East, the oil industry and US foreign policy.

The festival's Modern Master award was created in 1995 "to honour an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry".

"He has everything any movie star could want to have, any director or producer, and then some," said Entertainment Tonight film critic Leonard Maltin, presenting the award to Clooney.

The annual 10-day event opened on Thursday with a screening of Ask the Dust, starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek.

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