The eternal sunshine of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival shined brightly on Tuesday evening. Four-time Oscar nominated actress Kate Winslet received the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award during a tribute held at the Lobero Theatre. Winslet boasts an impressive resume of work for an actress not yet 30-years-old, playing a slew of characters ranging from maidens in corsets to hippies in sundresses. Since turning 17, Winslet has performed in 14 films with, two more to be released in 2005.

“When you want something, you have to go get it. I just don’t believe in not going for it,” Winslet said in her tribute interview with Daily Variety journalist Pete Hammond. “I’m quite choosy, but I take risks and do things that are different.”

Possibly best known for her portrayal of Rose in 1997’s “Titanic,” Winslet defines class in Hollywood. She has recently taken her witty and clever sense of humor to the big screen in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” for which she has been nominated for best actress. In the film, she plays Clementine, girlfriend of Jim Carrey, who undergoes a procedure to erase him from her mind following their breakup. “It was hard to get the right level for her,” Winslet said. “I wanted to put something loveable in her.”

The well-spoken actress seeks to understand every character she plays, believing that if she did not have to work hard for a film, the she would not love her job as much. Balancing family and career is known to be difficult, but Winslet prefers to live the simple life with her husband and two children in England, shying away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

After talking of close Hollywood friends and her wide range of characters, acting styles and on-set perils, festival Artistic Director Roger Durling presented the “one actress he absolutely adores” with her prize. Before heading off to the after party at hip restaurant Nu on State Street, Winslet thanked her family and fans for her great fortune in life – to be doing what she loves, taking risks, enjoying the journey and learning more about her art everyday. It seems that this Hollywood star will surely be dazzling audiences for years to come.