The Australian actor, who stars in Academy Award favourite The King's Speech, will receive the career tribute on 31 January (11) and the event's executive director, Roger Durling, insists the awards ceremony will be a royal affair.
He says, "I feel like royalty's coming to SBIFF. Having been an admirer of everything Geoffrey Rush has done (including his Tony-winning performance in Exit The King), we're truly blessed to get to celebrate him this year where he once again reminds us in The King's Speech that he's one of our greatest actors."
Previous recipients of the Montecito Award include Annette Bening, Javier Bardem, Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet.
The 26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from 27 January to 6 February (11).