The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Lupita Nyong'o with the Breakthrough Performance Award for '12 Years a Slave' and 'Thomas Newman' with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing for Saving Mr. Banks at its annual Awards Gala.
"Lupita Nyong'o is outstanding as the exploited slave whose beauty attracts the attention of Michael Fassbender's vicious slave master. She delivers a raw and deeply moving performance that serves as the fulcrum for the film's message of the inhumanity of slavery," said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "For her American film debut in 12 Years a Slave, it is a great honor for the Palm Springs International Film Festival to present her with the 2014 Breakthrough Performance Award."
Officials with the film festival said '12 Years a Slave' is based on a true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.
In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life. The Fox Searchlight Pictures film is directed by Steve McQueen and written by John Ridley. Producers are Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan and Anthony Katagas. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard, Chris Chalk, Taran Killam and Bill Camp.
Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mariah Carey, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Carey Mulligan and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Cotillard and Hudson went on to win Academy Awards®, while Huffman and Renner received Oscar® nominations.
Thomas Newman's win of the PSIFF's Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing, is his second win in the category. Matzner said, "Thomas Newman is a master at creating memorable film scores. In Saving Mr. Banks, he pays tribute to Mary Poppins composers Richard and Robert Sherman through an indelible original score. The Festival is delighted to once again present Thomas Newman with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing."
The Awards Gala takes place on January, 4, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
Awards will also be given to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen and Julia Roberts.
The Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and hosted by Mary Hart.
The film festival runs from January 3rd to January 13th.