31 JANUARY 2008

Showing off his prestigious award at the Santa Barbara film fest, Ryan Gosling may well have been reflecting on just how far he's come since the days of The Mickey Mouse club.

The former child actor - whose colleagues once included Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears - looked delighted by the prize honouring his contribution to the independent movie scene.

Ontario-born Ryan was presented with the Independent Award by Craig Gillespie, the director of his latest movie Lars And The Real Girl.

The drama - in which a painfully shy loner strikes up an unconventional relationship with a blow-up doll - is typical of the 27-year-old's unconventional choices.

Despite his stock being so high in Hollywood, Ryan, who was Oscar-nominated in 2007, still sometimes has the feeling his career could stall.

"You know sometimes department stores have these competitions where, if you win, you get ten minutes to go in and take anything you want?" he once posed in an interview. "That's what I'm doing. I'm running in and trying to grab as many characters as possible before they pull the plug on me."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Canadian star is congratulated by Craig Gillespie, the director of his latest project Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
As well as being a favourite with the critics, hunky Ryan proved an equal hit with fans at the Santa Barbara film festPhoto: © Getty Images
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