Joaquin Phoenix to receive the Chairman's Award


Palm Springs, CA (November 14, 2019) - The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Joaquin Phoenix with the Chairman's Award for his performance in Joker at its annual Film Awards Gala. The award will be presented by Joker co-writer/director/producer Todd Phillips. The event, presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart, is scheduled for Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.

"Joaquin Phoenix mesmerizes audiences in Joker with a performance that elicits empathy and reminds society on the whole that we can be better," said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "For this performance, another in his arsenal of unforgettable characters, we are honored to present Joaquin Phoenix with this year's Chairman's Award." 

Past recipients of the Chairman's Award include last year's Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress, Regina King, along with Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Phoenix joins this year's previously announced honoree Renée Zellweger.

Directed, co-written and produced by Todd Phillips, the Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative film is an origin story infused with, but distinctly outside, the character's more traditional mythologies. Phillips' exploration follows Arthur Fleck, a Gotham City man longing for any light to shine on him, who tries his hand as a stand-up comic but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty and, ultimately, betrayal, Arthur makes one bad decision after another that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty, allegorical character study. 

Phoenix is a three-time Academy Award-nominated actor who earned his first Oscar nod in 2000, for Best Supporting Actor in Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Best Picture, Gladiator. Phoenix received his second Oscar nomination, for Best Actor, in 2006 as legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Cash in James Mangold's biopic Walk the Line. For his performance, he also won the Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, as well as nominations for BAFTA, SAG, BFCA and Chicago Film Critics' awards. He received his third Oscar nod, for Best Actor, for his work in the Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master. Phoenix also earned the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA.  More recently, Phoenix was awarded Best Actor at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for his role in the Lynne Ramsay-directed feature You Were Never Really Here, and starred in Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, both for Amazon.  His additional film credits include Her, Inherent Vice, Irrational Man, 8mm, The Village, Hotel Rwanda, We Own the Night, The Immigrant, U-Turn, Inventing the Abbotts, To Die For; and Parenthood.  

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year's best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Mary J. Blige, Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Gal Gadot, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Regina King, Rami Malek, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon. Call 760-969-7533 for Gala tickets or tables, 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 for Film Festival information or visit

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Media Contacts:
Scenario Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy / 

Palm Springs International Film Festival
Tony Ramos