Jessica Chastain, Howard Shore to be Honored at 23rd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival 

Organizers of the 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) have announced the last of the ever growing roster of honorees for the awards gala. The fantastic Jessica Chastain the Spotlight Award for her extraordinary performances in 2011. And boy, was she ever extraordinary! Chastain stole scenes in "The Help," "The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter," "The Debt," and "Coriolanus."

When I interviewed the actress for "The Debt," I praised her for her outstanding performances in "The Help," "The Tree of Life," and "The Debt" and I was glad to say I was on point in giving her love in September. She was sweet and humble, and fun to talk to! Check out my interview with Chastain for "The Debt" right here.

Composer Howard Shore will also be honored with the Frederick Loewe Music Award for his work in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." He's been the perennial favorite of Scorsese and they worked in "The Aviator," "Gangs of New York," and "The Departed."

Chastain and Shore will join fellow honorees George Clooney, Glenn Close, Stephen Daldry, Michel Hazanavicius, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams, and the film Young Adult at the Awards Gala on January 7th at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Here's the complete press release:



Palm Springs, CA (December 28, 2011) – The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Jessica Chastain with the Spotlight Award and composer Howard Shore with the Frederick Loewe Music Award. Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 7, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees George Clooney, Glenn Close, Stephen Daldry, Michel Hazanavicius, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams, and the film Young Adult. The Festival runs January 5-16.

Jessica Chastain will receive the Spotlight Award. The Spotlight Award honors an actor or actress for their extraordinary performances in the current cinematic year. Chastain will receive the award for her roles in The Help, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Debt and Coriolanus. “Through a series of virtuoso performances, Jessica Chastain has established herself as one of the cinema’s most versatile and most sought after young actresses,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In The Help, Chastain portrays a woman, emotionally paralyzed by a secret she is keeping from her socially prominent husband. She also gave outstanding performances in this year’s films The Tree of Life, Take Shelter and Coriolanus. In addition to these roles, her performance in The Debt as an undercover Mossad agent on the hunt for a Nazi war criminal exudes the strength of character needed to carry out her mission. To this actress, who captivates audiences with her adroit talents, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2012 Spotlight Award to Jessica Chastain.”

Chastain starred opposite Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in the Fox Searchlight Pictures drama The Tree of Life, an impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. Written and directed by Terrence Malick, the film follows the life journey of Jack, the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. O’Brien (Pitt & Chastain), through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he seeks answers to the origins and meaning of life. Chastain also starred in DreamWorks Pictures’ adaptation of the best-selling Kathryn Stockett novel The Help playing Celia Foote, an insecure Southern lady constantly trying to fit in with the high society women who reject her. The film is directed by Tate Taylor and also stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer. Her other credits include The Weinstein Company’s Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes and starring Fiennes, Gerard Butler, and Vanessa Redgrave; Focus Features’ The Debt, directed by John Madden and starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Tom Wilkinson; and Sony Pictures Classics’ Take Shelter directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon.

Chastain’s role in The Help led her to several acclamations including a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her work in Take Shelter earned a Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female. Her other honors this year include a New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s award as Best Supporting Actress for all of her movies this year.

Howard Shore will receive the Frederick Loewe Music Award. He previously received the same honor at the Festival’s Awards Gala in 2005 for composing the score in The Aviator. His collaboration with director Martin Scorsese also includes composing the scores for “Gangs of New York” and “The Departed.” This year he will be receiving the award for his exceptional work in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. “Howard Shore is a master composer who has consistently delighted audiences of the more than 80 films that he has scored,” said Matzner. “In Hugo, the labyrinthine setting of a Paris railway station, where a young boy lives alone, doing what he must to survive, and the discovery of an aging filmmaker gifted with a second chance provide the perfect inspiration for Shore’s haunting score. He has received universal acclaim for this effort, with his compositions as dramatic and innovative as the 3-D in which Hugo was filmed. To this artist of unsurpassed and boundless talent, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2012 Frederick Loewe Music Award to Howard Shore.”

Based on Brian Selznick’s award-winning, imaginative New York Times bestseller, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Hugo is the astonishing adventure of a wily and resourceful boy whose quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father will transform Hugo and all those around him, and reveal a safe and loving place he can call home. Composer Howard Shore’s score in the film is a love letter, both to the French culture in the 1930s and to the groundbreaking early days of cinema. Shore also collaborated with Elizabeth Cotnoir and singer Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy) to create an original song for the movie called “Coeur Volant.” Hugo is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz. For his work in Hugo, Shore received a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Score. The film recently won Best Picture and Best Director awards from the National Board of Review.

Shore is among today’s most respected, honored and active composers and music conductors. His work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy stands as his most towering achievement to date, earning him three Academy Awards®. He has also been honored with four Grammy and three Golden Globe awards. His original scores to Dead Ringers and Eastern Promises were each honored with a Genie Award. Shore continues to distinguish himself with a wide range of projects including Crash, The Departed, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Ed Wood, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and Mrs. Doubtfire.

PSIFF recipients of the Frederick Loewe Music Award include T Bone Burnett, Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman and Diane Warren.

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