December 09, 2013 10:52am PT by Scott Feinberg
Palm Springs Film Fest: Honors for '12 Years' Scene-Stealer and 'Mr. Banks' Composer
12 Years a Slave's scene-stealing newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, the presumptive frontrunner for this year's best supporting actress Oscar, will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award, and composer Thomas Newman, a 10-time best original score Oscar nominee who has yet to win but will contend in the category this year for Saving Mr. Banks, will receive the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the fest announced on Monday.
The award will be presented on Jan. 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center as part of the festival's 25th edition, which runs from Jan. 3-13.
“Lupita Nyong'o is outstanding as the exploited slave whose beauty attracts the attention of Michael Fassbender's vicious slave master," said festival chairman Harold Matzner. "She delivers a raw and deeply moving performance that serves as the fulcrum for the film's message of the inhumanity of slavery. For her American film debut in 12 Years a Slave, it is a great honor for the Palm Springs International Film Festival to present her with the 2014 Breakthrough Performance Award."
Past recipients of the breakthrough award include Mariah Carey, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Carey Mulligan and Jeremy Renner. (Cotillard and Hudson went on to win Oscars shortly after claiming their PSIFF prizes.)
Matzner said of Newman, who previously won the Loewe Award in 2006: "Thomas Newman is a master at creating memorable film scores. In Saving Mr. Banks, he pays tribute to Mary Poppins composers Richard and Robert Sherman through an indelible original score. The Festival is delighted to once again present him with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing."
Past recipients of the Loewe Award, in addition to Newman himself, include T Bone Burnett, Mychael Danna, Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Randy Newman and Diane Warren. (Burnett and Danna went on to win Oscars shortly after claiming their PSIFF prizes.)
The fest previously announced that it will honor 12 Years a Slave's helmer Steve McQueen with its Director of the Year Award; Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey with its Desert Palm Award, Actor; Gravity's Sandra Bullock with its Desert Palm Award, Actress; August: Osage County's supporting actress Julia Roberts with its Spotlight Award; American Hustle's cast with its Ensemble Performance Award; and Nebraska's Bruce Dern with its Career Achievement Award. Additional announcements are expected shortly.