A gala awards event will kick off the Palm Springs International Film Festival, presenting tributes to an illustrious group of actors and film talents, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The 21st annual event, January 5-18, will screen 200 films from 60 countries.
At the awards on January 5, Oscar-winning Helen Mirren, who portrays Tolstoy's wife in the recently released The Last Station, will be presented with the Career Achievement Award for her distinguished work. Morgan Freeman also receives a Career Achievement Award for his body of memorable performances, including his role as Nelson Mandela in Invictus.
Jeff Bridges, currently in the acclaimed Crazy Heart, will be presented with the Desert Palm Achievement Award for acting excellence and years of consistent work, including four Oscar nominations. Mariah Carey will be acknowledged for her Breakthrough Performance in Precious.
In addition to the film stars, the festival gala honors Jason Reitman with the Best Director award for Up in the Air, a current favorite among critics and a Golden Globe nominee. Actor Jeremy Renner takes Breakthrough Performance kudos for the critically acclaimed The Hurt Locker.
Also, T Bone Burnett, whose hit soundtracks include O Brother Where Art Thou, Across The Universe, and Walk The Line, receives the Best Film Composer award for Crazy Heart.
World Premieres and the Best Foreign Language Films Oscar nominees will be among the films screened at the festival.