September 28, 2011 6:00am PT by Scott Feinberg
Michelle Williams to Receive Hollywood Actress Award at 15th Annual Hollywood Film Awards (Exclusive)
The 15th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards, presented by Starz Entertainment, will honor two-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams with its 2011 Hollywood Actress Award. Williams is being recognized for her portrayal of screen legend Marilyn Monroe in Simon Curtis' My Week With Marilyn (which will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival next week), as well her performances as a 19th century frontierswoman in Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff (which was released in April) and as a 21st century wife tempted by adultery in Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz (which premiered at this month's Toronto International Film Festival and is still seeking a U.S. distributor). She will collect her statuette at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony, which will take place at the Beverly Hilton on Oct. 24, 2011.
Carlos de Abreu, the founder and executive director of the event, told The Hollywood Reporter, "It is a privilege to honor Michelle for her excellent talent and remarkable career." She is following in some impressive footsteps -- the 11 previous recipients of this same honor are Drew Barrymore (1999), Angelina Jolie (2000), Nicole Kidman (2001), Jennifer Aniston (2002), Diane Lane (2003), Annette Bening (2004), Charlize Theron (2005), Penelope Cruz (2006), Marion Cotillard (2007), Kristin Scott Thomas (2008), Hilary Swank (2009) and Bening again (2010). The vast majority of the aforementioned women were nominated for the best actress Oscar in the same year that they were honored with the Hollywood Actress Award; Cotillard went on to win it.
Williams became a star at age 17 on the hit TV show Dawson's Creek (1998-2003). She concurrently began working in indie films and scored her first major big-screen success in Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which she received a best supporting actress Oscar nod. She has since starred in numerous critically acclaimed films helmed by interesting directors, including Andrew Fleming's Dick (1999), Dan Harris's Imaginary Heroes (2004), Todd Haynes'sI'm Not There (2007), Reichart's Wendy and Lucy (2008) Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York (2008) and Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island (2010). Last year, she earned some of the best reviews of her career -- and her first best actress Oscar nomination -- for her haunting performance in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine (2010).
In recent weeks, as "The Race" was the first to report, de Abreu announced the recipients of several other prizes, as well: the cast of The Help for the Hollywood Ensemble Award; Oscar nominee Christopher Plummer (Beginners) for the Hollywood Supporting Actor Award; Rango for the Hollywood Animation Award; Oscar nominee Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life) for the Hollywood Cinematographer Award; Oscar winner Stephen Mirrione (The Ides of March) with the Hollywood Editor Award; Oscar nominee James Murakami (J. Edgar) for the Hollywood Production Designer Award; Oscar winner Scott Farrar (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) for the Hollywood Visual Effects Award; Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50) for the Hollywood Breakthrough Actor Award; Jessica Chastain (Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life) for the Hollywood Breakthrough Actress Award; and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) for the New Hollywood Award. He says that the remaining honorees will be announced over the next few weeks.