David Oyelowo will be presented with the Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala for his critically acclaimed performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s film ‘Selma’.
“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.”
Film festival organizers said past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Carey Mulligan, Felicity Huffman, Jennifer Hudson and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Cotillard, Hudson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Huffman and Renner received nominations.
According to a film festival release, Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.
Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The Paramount Pictures film is directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Oyelowo, Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey, who also serves as a producer.
In addition to Selma, David Oyelowo appeared in several other films this year including A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, and Default. His other credits include Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Lincoln, The Middle of Nowhere, Jack Reacher, The Paperboy, Complicit, Red Tails, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Help, 96 Minutes, The Last King of Scotland, among many others.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs from January 2-12.