Organisers of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California have been forced to postpone their salute to Forest Whitaker because the Oscar winner is in South Africa to say farewell to Nelson Mandela.

Whitaker was scheduled to be handed the 2013 Kirk Douglas Award at a ceremony on Sunday (15Dec13) - the same day the civil rights icon will be laid to rest in the village of Qunu, where he was born.

A statement from event bosses reads: "Due to the passing of Nelson Mandela, Forest Whitaker will be in South Africa and unable to make it to Santa Barbara on Sunday, December 15th. The Kirk Douglas Award (presentation) has been rescheduled to Sunday January 5th."

Mandela died from a lung infection last Thursday (05Dec13), aged 95.

A memorial service was held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday (10Dec13), when Bono, Charlize Theron and Naomi Campbell joined world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, in mourning.