Awards for 2015
Best Documentary Feature
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Narrative Feature
New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize
No One's Child: Vuk Rsumovic
"We are deeply impressed by this compelling, multilayered and assured first feature film by a writer-director from Serbia. A child actor (in an astonishing performance by Denis Muric) undergoes an extraordinary transformation in this personal, intimate tale set in a time of historical turmoil. Carefully considered yet unexpected choices and bold direction result in a film that is both immediate and immersive, and the jury eagerly look forward to more work from this exciting new talent."
New Voices/New Visions Special Jury Mention
Fidelio, Alice's Journey: Lucie Borleteau
"We were excited to see a strong, distinctive and honest portrayal of a female protagonist in a role which pushes the envelope on modern romance and handles female sexuality with a refreshing lack of inhibition. The director and co-writer deliver a daring, nuanced debut which uses humor to offset the darkness of this exquisitely shot story about loneliness and life at sea."
Breakthrough Performance Award
Gone Girl: Rosamund Pike
"Rosamund Pike perfectly taps into Gillian Flynn's complex character from the novel "Gone Girl" bringing to life the privileged, manipulative and calculating Amy Dunne. It's hard to imagine anyone else in the role," said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "For this outstanding performance it is an honor to present her with the 2015 Breakthrough Performance Award, Actress."
Selma: David Oyelowo
"David Oyelowo's transformation into Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is truly outstanding," said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "He perfectly recreates King's mannerisms and speech cadence, and moreover, captures the spirit of one of the greatest leaders in history, giving audiences a rewarding portrait of this iconic man that is deeply layered and effecting. For this phenomenal portrayal it is an honor to present him with the 2015 Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor."
Ensemble Cast Award
John Schlesinger Award
Walking Under Water: Eliza Kubarska
"Walking Under Water is a masterful and lush meditation of an unknown world that reveals a strong humanity while pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. Walking Under Water is a visually and sonically elegant work that never falters - an extraordinary film."
Bridging the Borders Award
Whiplash: J.K. Simmons
"Throughout his career J.K. Simmons had played a wide range of roles from tough guys in "Oz" and Sam Raimi's Spider Man films to nicer guys in Juno and Up in the Air," said Harold Matzner, Chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. "In Whiplash, Simmons' shines with his tough guy portrayal of a music teacher, who physically and emotionally terrorizes a young drummer, and gives a captivating performance that is alternately hilarious and terrifying. We are honored to present J.K. Simmons with the 2015 Spotlight Award, Actor."
Director of the Year Award
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro González Iñárritu
Commenting on Alejandro G. Iñárritu receiving PSIFF's Director of the Year Award, his second win in the category, Matzner said, "By creating the illusion that the film was shot in one take and directing award-worthy performances by Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and a star-studded cast, Iñárritu has created a brilliant and original dark comedy in Birdman. The Festival is delighted to once again present Alejandro G. Iñárritu with the Director of the Year Award."
Sonny Bono Visionary Award
Boyhood: Richard Linklater
"Richard Linklater's latest feature film is the critically acclaimed Boyhood, a one-of-a-kind epic undertaking shot over the course of 12 years with the same cast," said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "For his creative innovations in filmmaking, The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Richard Linklater with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award."
Wild: Reese Witherspoon
"Reese Witherspoon delivers one of her finest performances in Wild," said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "Witherspoon brilliantly brings to life the true story of Cheryl Strayed, adding yet another iconic performance to her impressive 20-year span of characters including June Carter, Tracy Flick and Elle Woods. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Reese Witherspoon with the Chairman's Award."
Desert Palm Achievement Award
Still Alice: Julianne Moore
"In her latest film Still Alice, she faces one of her most demanding and challenging roles as Alice, a woman diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Moore delivers another career-defining performance that is sure to captivate audiences and bring attention to this devastating disease. It is our honor to present the 2015 Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress, to Julianne Moore."
The Theory of Everything: Eddie Redmayne
"From The Good Shepherd to Les Misérables, Eddie Redmayne has proven himself an actor poised for greatness," says Harold Matzner, Chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. "In The Theory of Everything, as ALS-stricken scientist Stephen Hawking, Redmayne captivates his audience as he goes through a powerful physical transformation, from a healthy college student to a dependent wheelchair-bound middle-aged man, in what is truly a stunning performance. We are honored to recognize Eddie Redmayne with the 2015 Desert Palm Achievement Award for acting."
Winter Sleep: Haluk Bilginer
"This actor achieves a superb performance through dialogue, and is even more impressive when he's silent, planning his next lethal response."
Mommy: Anne Dorval
"As the somewhat unhinged mother of a throughly unhinged son, Anne Dorval appears in almost every frame of Xavier Dolan's Mommy. The jury recognizes this performance for the sheer expressive range of her transition from "crazy mom" to "crazy wise mom", forced to make an impossible decision for everyone's good."
Best Foreign Language Film
Leviathan: Andrey Zvyagintsev
"At once timely and timeless, this film manages to comment on contemporary issues in a way that is both artistically stunning and deeply humane."
Directors to Watch
The Judge: Robert Duvall
"Robert Duvall gives an outstanding and amazingly realistic performance as Judge Joseph Palmer in The Judge," said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. "This is sure to be remembered in his long list of iconic character roles, including Tom Hagen in The Godfather films, Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove, Mac Sledge in Tender Mercies, Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, The Apostle and so many others. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present this year's Icon Award to Robert Duvall."
Cine Latino Award
Cine Latino Award - Special Mention
Bridging the Borders Award - Special Mention
Creative Impact in Directing Award
Into the Woods: Rob Marshall
"Director Rob Marshall has managed to translate one of the most complicated and beloved musicals of our time to the big screen with the recent Into the Woods and showcases and continuing creative vitality and artistic risk-taking in all of his work."
Creative Impact in Acting Award
Foxcatcher: Steve Carell
"Since his emergence as one of America's most gifted comedic actors two decades ago, Steve Carell's career has moved through breakout hit television and film roles from The 40 Year Old Virgin to Little Miss Sunshine to The Office. Now, with his gripping portrayal of a man whose dreams and whims are overwhelmed by internal destructive forces beyond his control, Carell is firmly placed in the front ranks of America's finest dramatic performers."
Creative Impact in Comedy Award
Filmmakers Who Make a Difference Award
Citizenfour: Laura Poitras
"Laura Poitras' astonishing documentary, Citizenfour, has played a major role in changing our perceptions regarding fugitive Edward Snowden and about Governmental intrusion into our private lives through the tools of technology," said Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. "It's for these reasons that the Festival has seen fit to honor her role as a filmmaker who has truly made a difference through her work."