News in 2010

Colin Firth and Natalie Portman to be honored at PSIFF Awards Gala
2011 Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival


PALM SPRINGS, CA (November 15, 2010) – The 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Colin Firth and Natalie Portman with the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Actor and Actress, respectively. Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will kick off the 2011 awards season on Saturday, January 8 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will be hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart. Firth and Portman will join previously announced honorees Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Mulligan. The Festival runs January 6-17.

“We are honoring two of the finest actors to grace the screen, both of whom deliver Oscar-quality performances in their most recent films,” said Palm Springs International Film Festival chairman Harold Matzner. “Colin Firth brings a regal versatility to each of his roles, but his portrayal of King George VI in his latest film, The King’s Speech is extraordinary. Natalie Portman, who started dancing at age four and acting at age 11, tests the full range of her significant talent with a powerhouse performance as the obsessed ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

Colin Firth will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award. Firth will next be seen starring in the feature film The King’s Speech as King George VI, father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, who reluctantly assumes the throne after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicates. King George VI struggles to overcome a nervous stammer with the help of a speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush. The King’s Speech will be released by The Weinstein Company later this month.

Firth won the BAFTA Award in 2010 for his performance in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, which also earned him nominations for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. He received international critical acclaim for his starring role as George Falconer in the film, based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel, including being honored with the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 2009 Venice Film Festival and Performance of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, as well as the London Critics Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year.

Firth is currently in production on Working Title’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). The ensemble includes Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch. His other film credits include Genova, Mamma Mia!, Then She Found Me, When Did You Last See Your Father?, Easy Virtue, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Love Actually, The Importance of Being Earnest, Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Where the Truth Lies, Trauma, Nanny McPhee, Apartment Zero, My Life So Far, Fever Pitch, Circle of Friends, and Valmont. Firth is an international ambassador for Oxfam.

Past honorees of the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award include Jeff Bridges, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Liam Neeson, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta and James Stewart.

Natalie Portman will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award. Portman will next be seen starring in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, a supernatural thriller thatcenters on a veteran ballerina who finds herself locked in a competitive situation with a rival dancer, with the stakes increasing as the dancers approach a big performance. Fox Searchlight will release the film this December.

Portman made her debut in Luc Besson’s The Professional in 1994. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Mike Nichol’s Closer. She has starred in over 25 films, including Heat, Beautiful Girls, Everyone Says I Love You, Mars Attacks!, Anywhere But Here (Golden Globe nomination), Where the Heart Is, Cold Mountain, Garden State, Free Zone, V for Vendetta, Paris je t’aime, Goya’s Ghosts, My Blueberry Nights, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, The Other Boleyn Girl, New York, I Love You and Brothers. She also starred in three of the Star Wars films: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

Portman’s upcoming projects include Ivan Reitman’s untitled romantic comedy, starring opposite Ashton Kutcher, slated for release by Paramount on January 21; David Gordon Green’s Your Highness, co-starring Danny McBride, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel, slated for release by Universal Pictures on April 8; and Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, slated for release by Paramount on May 20, 2011.

Past recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 130,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who in recent years have included Clint Eastwood, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ron Howard, Anne Hathaway, Jeff Bridges, Danny Elfman and many others.

The Festival’s 22nd Annual Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. Renewing sponsors of this year’s Festival are Title Sponsor The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, Spencer’s Restaurant and KPSP Local 2. Major Sponsors include Bank of America, Penfolds, Regal Entertainment, Diageo, Desert Regional Medical Center, Integrated Wealth Management, Wessman Development, Guthy-Renker, Wells Fargo, Chihuly Art Glass, and Ocean Properties Development.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit


Steven Wilson / Emily Davis
B|W|R Public Relations
310.550.7776 /

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Festival