The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Mary J. Blige with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in the Netflix film "Mudbound," at its annual Film Awards Gala. Blige joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan and the cast of "The Shape of Water." The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2–15, 2018.
“Mary J. Blige is a global superstar in the world of music who continues to make her mark as an actress in both television and film,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her current film 'Mudbound,' Blige gives a quiet yet fantastic performance as Florence Jackson, a strong woman supporting her sharecropper family in rural Mississippi. It is our honor to present the 2018 Breakthrough Performance Award to Mary J. Blige.”
Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.
Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ "Mudbound," is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. "Mudbound," follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband's losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige), sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations, struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. World War II upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.
Mary J. Blige is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, with a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and five American Music Awards. She has appeared in Tyler Perry’s dramatic comedy "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," and starred in the Tom Cruise musical "Rock of Ages." Her other credits include the TV movie "Betty & Coretta," the holiday musical drama "Black Nativity," and guest spots on "Black-ish," "Empire," "The Wiz Live!" and "How To Get Away With Murder."
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 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 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 Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.