Penn has found success as a director and an actor
Sean Penn is to receive the prestigious Stanley Kubrick award for excellence in film from Bafta's Los Angeles branch.
The 48-year-old, who first made his name in 1980s teen film Fast Times At Ridgemont High, will pick up his prize at the Bafta LA awards on 6 November.
Previous recipients of the award include Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
"As a celebrated actor, director and producer, Sean has become a film icon," said Bafta LA's chairman Peter Morris.
"The roles and subject matter he chooses to tackle as a film-maker are both challenging and inspiring to audiences worldwide."
Penn has been nominated for a best actor Oscar four times, winning in 2004 for Mystic River.
He has also been acclaimed for his work as a director, with credits including The Indian Runner and 2007's Into The Wild.
The actor had a famously turbulent marriage to pop star Madonna in the latter half of the 1980s. He is now married to actress Robin Wright Penn.
The couple filed for divorce in December last year, but called off the proceedings several months later.
Penn will next be seen playing gay 1970s San Francisco politician Harvey Milk in a new film from director Gus Van Sant.
Last year's recipient of the Stanley Kubrick award was Denzel Washington, who was presented with the honour by his Pelican Brief co-star Julia Roberts.