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Saoirse Ronan and Brie Larson to share film festival honour

Bosses of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival struggled to choose between Saoirse Ronan and Brie Larson for the Outstanding Performance of the Year prize, so they will award it to them both.

Irish star Saoirse landed the title for her performance in Brooklyn, about an immigrant who moves to New York, sharing the honour with Larson for her role as a mother held captive with her son in tense thriller Room.

It is the first time the awards bosses have chosen to split the outstanding performance prize between two stars.

The festival's executive director Roger Durling said he was "proud" to give the award to two honourees for the first time, adding, "This is an incredible year for emerging talent to take centre stage and showcase their abilities. We've long been following the careers of Brie and Saoirse and their recent roles as empowered young women transcend time, place and circumstance."

The actors will be presented with the prize during a ceremony at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California on 8 February (16).

Previous recipients include Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie.

Both Saoirse and Brie have previously been awarded the festival's Virtuoso accolade for distinguished performances. The 2016 Virtuoso winners have been named as Larson's Room co-star Jacob Tremblay, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Dano for Love & Mercy, and Australian actor Joel Edgerton for mobster thriller Black Mass.

Festival organisers previously announced that Johnny Depp will be honoured with the Maltin Modern Master Award, and Spotlight stars Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo will receive the festival's highest career achievement honour, the American Riviera Award, as an ensemble.

The event runs from 3 to 13 February (16).

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