Cynthia Erivo to Receive Breakthrough Prize at Palm Springs Film Festival Gala

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The actress — and Golden Globe nominee — will receive the award during the fest's Jan. 2 gala.

Cynthia Erivo will ring in the new year with a new award to put on her mantel.

The Harriet star and Tony Award winning performer has been selected to receive a breakthrough performance award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The prize will be presented to her during the fest's Film Awards Gala in Palm Springs Jan. 2 at the Convention Center. Erivo joins a roster of breakthrough performance award winners that includes Mahershala Ali, Mary J. Blige, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner.

Also honored at the event — presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart — will be Antonio Banderas (International Star Award, Actor), Laura Dern (Career Achievement Award), Zack Gottsagen (Rising Star Award), Jennifer Lopez (Spotlight Award), Joaquin Phoenix (Chairman’s Award), Martin Scorsese (Sonny Bono Visionary Award), Charlize Theron (International Star Award, Actress) and Renée Zellweger (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress).

“Cynthia Erivo has been a sensation in her theatrical performances, and now audiences are getting to experience her on the big screen. In Harriet, she fully embodies and brings to life the tale of Harriet Tubman, whose courage saved herself and many others from a life of slavery,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner of her role in the Kasi Lemmons-directed pic about Harriet Tubman. “She is a star on the rise, and for her portrayal that has garnered much critical acclaim and has received several award nominations it is our honor to present her with the Breakthrough Performance Award.”

The honor is Erivo's latest this awards season for the Focus Features film. She is up for two Golden Globes — one for lead actress in a drama and the other for best original song — along with two Critics’ Choice award nominations and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role. 

Erivo's upcoming credits include the sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, John Ridley's Needle in a Timestack, the musical take on the American folk tale of Rip Van Winkle; the HBO series The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name; and a role playing Aretha Franklin in the next installment of the Emmy-winning global anthology series Genius: Aretha.

The Palm Springs fest runs January 2-13, 2020.