Palm Springs International Film Awards: Austin Butler to Receive Breakthrough Performance Award for 'Elvis'

Austin Butler
Eric Ray Davidson

The Palm Springs International Film Awards has announced yet another honoree. Austin Butler will be the recipient of the Breakthrough Performance Award for his role in Elvis.

"Austin Butler commands the screen with a larger-than-life performance as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s spectacular film Elvis. The heart and soul of the movie, Butler’s dedication to this role shows in the nuances he brought to the character, seen through multiple decades of the often-tumultuous life Elvis lived, as well as the sprawling live performances where Austin embodies the iconic artist in a way previously unseen on the big screen,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "We are honored to present the Breakthrough Performance Award to Austin Butler."

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Mary J. Blige, Marion Cotillard, Andra Day, Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson, Malek and Nyong'o went on to receive Academy Awards, while Day, Blige, Erivo, Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.

Michelle Williams and Steven Spielberg

The Fabelmans is also getting some recognition ahead of awards season. It was announced last week that the movie is the recipient of the Vanguard Award, a group honor distinguishing a film's cast and director in recognition of their collective work on an exceptional film project. The award will be presented to director Steven Spielberg and cast members Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel LaBelle and Judd Hirsch, who are all expected to attend the ceremony. 

"The Fabelmans is an achievement not only as a deeply personal portrait of Steven Spielberg’s childhood, but also as a profoundly universal story that each and every one of us can relate to. Giving audiences a glimpse at Spielberg’s early love for movies and moviemaking, the film features a tremendous ensemble performance by Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel LaBelle and Judd Hirsch, making it one of the must-see films of the year," said Matzner. "It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to The Fabelmans."

Michelle Yeoh
Thomas Laisne

Also last week, it was also announced that Michelle Yeoh is the recipient of the International Star Award, Actress for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

"Michelle Yeoh is everything in the exhilarating film Everything Everywhere All at Once. In one of the most memorable roles of her career, Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American woman who is recruited to save the multiverse,” said Matzner. "For this film that is a fantastic showcase for Michelle Yeoh, it is our honor to present her with the International Star Award, Actress." 

Past recipients of the International Star Award, Actress include Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren, Saoirse Ronan and Charlize Theron. Last year’s recipient, Penélope Cruz, went on to receive an Academy Award Best Actress nomination.

Cate Blanchett
Hanna Lassen/Getty Images

Additionally, Cate Blanchett is the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress, for her role in TÁR. The actress was previously honored at the festival with the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress in 2016 for Carol and Truth, and with the Career Achievement Award and Ensemble Performance Award Babel in 2007.

Past winners of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress include last year’s Best Actress winner Jessica Chastain along with Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Olivia Colman, Marion Cotillard, Viola Davis, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Saoirse Ronan, Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger. 

"Cate Blanchett is truly one of the best actresses of this generation, whose performances are always extraordinary no matter the role.  In her latest film TÁR, Cate perfectly embodies Lydia Tár as an orchestra conductor at the height of her career whose life begins to unravel," said Matzner. " There is no one better suited for this role and it is our honor to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress, to Cate Blanchett.

Sarah Polley

It was also announced that filmmaker Sarah Polley will receive this year's Director of the Year Award for her latest movie, Women Talking. The film -- starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, and Sheila McCarthy -- is about the women of an isolated religious community who grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith.

Past recipients of the Director of the Year Award include Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Babel, Birdman), Steve Mc Queen (12 Years a Slave), Alexander Payne (Sideways), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) who all went on to receive Best Director Academy Award nominations.

Colin Farrell
Matt Easton

Additionally, Colin Farrell will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award for his acting in The Banshees of Inisherin. In the film, Farrell stars as Pádraic, who lives on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland and is lifelong friends with Colm (played by Brendan Gleeson). 

The two men "find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship," the press release reads. "A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavors to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer. But Pádraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences." 

"Colin Farrell reunites with Brendan Gleeson and director Martin McDonagh in the masterful comedy The Banshees of Inisherin," said Matzner. "Farrell gives a memorable performance as Pádraic a sweet-souled Irish farmer trying to save his lifelong friendship."

Farrell's Desert Palm Achievement will add to a growing list of accolades from his 20-year career. In 2009, he won a Golden Globe for his performance in In Bruges, also directed by McDonagh. Farrell was also nominated at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and European Film Awards for his role in 2015's The Lobster.

Previous actors to receive the Desert Palm Achievement include Riz Ahmed, Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adam Driver, Colin Firth, Andrew Garfield, Matthew McConaughey, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne. In the years they were honored, Bridges, Day-Lewis, McConaughey, Oldman, Penn and Redmayne went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Ahmed, Cooper, Driver, Garfield, Firth and Pitt received Best Actor Oscar nominations.

The Palm Springs International Film Awards -- run in conjunction with the Palm Springs International Film Festival -- will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center starting on Jan. 5, 2023. The event will be presented by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight and IHG.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will open with the red carpet premiere of 80 For Brady, with stars Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Rita Moreno and Lily Tomlin scheduled to attend. 


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