The 2018 Palm Springs Film Festival, AKA the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), kicks off the first week of January 2018 with its infamous black tie Awards Gala. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 4-15, 2018.
Check back daily from now until January 2, 2018, for updates.
Awards Gala January 2, 2018
The Shape Of Water, Vanguard Award
The Shape of Water receives the Vanguard Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival’s annual Film Awards Gala. The award is presented to the film’s cast and director and recognizes its outstanding ensemble. Scheduled to attend are Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (The Help), Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name), Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth), director, writer, and producer Guillermo del Toro and producer J. Miles Dale.
“Guillermo del Toro is a master storyteller, whose boundless imagination has crafted a visually dazzling fable with The Shape of Water,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “This romantic story of a woman discovering herself as she falls for someone otherworldly is driven by an astounding performance by Sally Hawkins, and features an acclaimed cast including Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones and Michael Stulhbarg. This exemplary group of actors brings to life this magical ode to cinema. It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to The Shape of Water.”
The Shape Of Water is nominated for 7 Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Actress, Sally Hawkins (Drama), Best Director (Guillermo Del Toro), and Best Screenplay.
Gal Gadot, Rising Star Award – Actress
“Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman showed us a strong, capable, poised, curious and compassionate character, and her performance has been universally praised, resonating with audiences everywhere. Gal plays the immortal warrior so well, and the film’s themes are especially apt for today, empowering all types of people—women and men, young and old—the world over,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner.
Timothee Chalamet, Rising Star Award – Actor, for his performance in Call Me By Your Name
“Timothée Chalamet gives a stirring performance as Elio, a 17-year-old on the brink of passion and self-discovery. It’s an intimate and erotic performance that transports the audience to another time and place and stays with us long after we’ve left the theater,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner.
Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Ruth Negga, Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Dakota Fanning, Terrence Howard and Adam Beach.
Call Me By Your Name, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. The film stars Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Timothée Chalamet first attracted attention during the second season of Showtime’s “Homeland” as the Vice President’s son, Finn Walden. He received a Drama League nomination, Clive Barnes Award nomination and received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor for his performance in the lead role of Jim Quinn in the play “Prodigal Son”.
Chalamet can currently be see in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird opposite Saoirse Ronan. Upcoming films for Chalamet include Scott Cooper’s Hostiles and Elijah Bynum’s coming of age drama Hot Summer Nights. Next fall, he will be seen as the co-lead opposite Steve Carell in Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy and the male lead in Woody Allen’s film A Rainy Day in New York opposite Selena Gomez and Elle Fanning.
Allison Janney, Spotlight Award – Actress, for her performance in I, Tonya
“Allison Janney delivers a knock-out performance as Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona Golden in I, Tonya. The usually charming Janney takes a compellingly dark turn as Tonya’s abusive, alcoholic mother,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this outstanding performance, which is sure to garner awards attention, it is an honor to present Allison Janney with the Spotlight Award.”
Jessica Chastain, Chairman’s Award for her performance in Molly’s Game
“Jessica Chastain is an incredible actress who has continuously challenged herself with complex roles throughout her career,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her latest film, Molly’s Game, Chastain brings to life Molly Bloom’s story of a determined woman who goes from being an Olympic skier to making millions running an exclusive high-stakes poker game. It is our honor to present the Chairman’s Award to Jessica Chastain.”
Chastain received the PSIFF Spotlight Award in 2012, going on to receive an Academy Award nomination for The Help. Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Sam Rockwell, Spotlight Award – Actor, for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
“Sam Rockwell is one of the most dynamic actors of his generation known for creating memorable and diverse characters. Once again he takes on another challenging role as the immature and explosive Officer Dixon in his critically acclaimed performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “
Past recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons receiving the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly comedic drama from Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh. After months without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message for Ebbing’s revered Chief of Police, William Willoughby. With the involvement of Officer Dixon (Rockwell), his short-tempered second-in-command, the battle between Mildred and the town’s law enforcement is only exacerbated. Rockwell won the Hollywood Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the film.
Sam Rockwell’s film credits include Conviction, Iron Man 2, Cowboys and Aliens, Moon, Charlie’s Angels, The Green Mile, Galaxy Quest, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, Seven Psychopaths, Snow Angels, Welcome to Collinwood, Heist, Everybody’s Fine, Frost/Nixon, Joshua, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Matchstick Men, Celebrity, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lawn Dogs, Safe Men, Jerry and Tom and Box of Moonlight. Rockwell won critical praise, as well as the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Berlin Bear Award and Movieline’s Breakthrough Performance of the Year Award, for his portrayal of Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award in 2014 for Best Actor in a Comedy for his performance in The Way, Way Back and in 2010 for Best Supporting Actor for Conviction.
Gary Oldman, Actor, Desert Palm Achievement Award, for his performance in Darkest Hour
“Gary Oldman brings to screen one of the most powerful performances of this year as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Portraying Britain’s steadfast leader during the tumultuous era of World War II, he has already earned rave reviews from critics and is sure to garner awards attention this season,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner.
Oldman received the International Star Award at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film festival. Past actor recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Casey Affleck, Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne. In the years they were honored, Affleck, Bridges, Day-Lewis, McConaughey, Penn and Redmayne went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Actor, while Cooper, Firth and Pitt received Oscar® nominations.
From Focus Features, Darkest Hour is a thrilling account inspired by the true story of Winston Churchill’s first weeks in office during the early days of the Second World War. Anthony McCarten’s original screenplay takes a revelatory look at the man behind the icon. The film is directed by Joe Wright and stars Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.
Gary Oldman is known for his iconic characterizations of Sirius Black (Harry Potter’s godfather), Commissioner Jim Gordon (Batman/Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting partner), Dracula, Beethoven, Pontius Pilate, Lee Harvey Oswald, Joe Orton, Sid Vicious, and George Smiley. The latter portrayal, in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, brought him accolades worldwide including BAFTA Award, British Independent Film Award, European Film Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. In addition to his work in the Harry Potter franchise and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, his other credits include Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, State of Grace, JFK, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, True Romance, Immortal Beloved, The Professional, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Hannibal, The Book of Eli, Child 44, The Contender and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Saoirse Ronan, Desert Palm Achievement Award – Actress, for her performance in Lady Bird
“Saoirse Ronan delivers one of the most outstanding performances of this year as an outspoken high school student growing up in Sacramento in the critically acclaimed film Lady Bird,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Following her exceptional performances in Atonement and Brooklyn, Ronan is sure to receive her third Academy Award nomination. It is our honor to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Saoirse Ronan.”
Ronan received the PSIFF International Star Award in 2016 for her performance in Brooklyn, going on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the same role.
Mary J. Blige, Breakthrough Performance Award, Mudbound
“Mary J. Blige is a global superstar in the world of music who continues to make her mark as an actress in both television and film,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her current film Mudbound, Blige gives a quiet yet fantastic performance as Florence Jackson, a strong woman supporting her sharecropper family in rural Mississippi. It is our honor to present the 2018 Breakthrough Performance Award to Mary J. Blige.”
Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.
Holly Hunter, Career Achievement Award
“Holly Hunter’s career is filled with many memorable performances including her Academy Award-winning role in The Piano as well as other films including Broadcast News, The Firm, The Incredibles and more,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her recent film The Big Sick, she brings comedy and poignancy as a mother coping with her daughter’s coma, while bonding with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend. It is our great honor to present the Career Achievement Award to Holly Hunter.”
About The 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon.
For the complete schedule of, and to purchase tickets to the 2018 Palm Springs Film Festival, here you go.
Wild About Movies will be providing exclusive coverage from the 2018 Palm Springs Film Festival beginning January 2, 2018.