I’m presuming that Robert De Niro has agreed to accept a Kirk Douglas Award in Santa Barbara on Saturday, 12.8.12, because it’ll push the buzz along for DeNiro’s Silver Linings Playbook performance, which is almost certain to be nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. It should be a good evening with various DeNiro homies (David O. Russell? Martin Scorsese?) giving tribute speeches.

It also indicates that Santa Barbara Film Festival chief Roger Durling, a diviner of currents in the wind and a fan of SLP, is banking that De Niro will be more favored in this category than Lincoln‘s Tommy Lee Jones or Arbitrage‘s Nate Parker or Argo‘s Alan Arkin or Magic Mike‘s Matthew McConaughey.

The event will also be an official celebration of the fact that De Niro, who’s appeared in a lot of painfully bad movies over the dozen years or so, has finally hit the jackpot with (a) a lively, funny, heart-touching performance in (b) a genuinely good film. (He’s given mushy performances before, but in crap like Everybody’s Fine, New Year’s Eve and The Big Wedding.) I think DeNiro started to “come back,” if you will, with a cagey performance as a creepy parole officer in Stone, which I greatly admired. Others thought his self-deluding dad in Being Flynn was a knockout, but I wasn’t a fan. Sorry.

Durling recently hosted a party at LA’s London Hotel to celebrate the 2013 Santa Barbara Film Festival, which will run from 1.24.13 through 2.3.13.

Tim Matheson, Roger Durling at recent SBIFF party at LA’s London Hotel.