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Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has directed four distinctly different feature films over the last nine years, will receive the Hollywood Director Award for his helming of Lee Daniels’ The Butler at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards — the first awards show of the 2013 season — on Oct. 21 at the Beverly Hilton, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. (The Hollywood Film Awards is owned by affiliates of THR parent company Guggenheim Partners.)
The Hollywood Film Awards are determined by founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu and an advisory committee. De Abreu tells THR, “It’s a great honor for us to recognize Lee’s outstanding work with our top directing honor of the year. His tremendous vision and versatility provides us with films that are both critical and box office successes.”
Daniels, 53, worked in the health care profession and as a talent agent before becoming a filmmaker. He served as a producer on Monster’s Ball (2001), for which Halle Berry became the first black best actress Oscar winner, and The Woodsman (2004), which played at Sundance and Cannes. Then he stepped behind the camera, directing the critically dismissed Shadowboxer (2005) and the widely acclaimed Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (2009), which was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture and best director. Last year, he wrote and directed The Paperboy, which divided people as much as any of his films but still garnered best actress Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Nicole Kidman.
On Aug. 16, The Weinstein Co. released the film that has proven to be Daniels’ biggest commercial success yet: Lee Daniels’ The Butler — a dramatic biopic inspired by the life of a black man who served as a White House butler to numerous U.S. presidents as the Civil Rights movement gained steam outside the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — which is still playing in more than 2,000 theaters. The tearjerker, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, among many other big names, received strong reviews and has grossed nearly $111 million domestically thus far.
Previous recipients of the Hollywood Director Award include Norman Jewison (1998), John Schlesinger (1999), Richard Donner (2000), John Frankenheimer (2001), Martin Scorsese (2002), Ron Howard (2003), Michael Mann (2004), Sam Mendes (2005), Oliver Stone (2006), Marc Forster (2007), Clint Eastwood (2008), Kathryn Bigelow (2009), Tom Hooper (2010), Bennett Miller (2011) and David O. Russell (2012). Just months after collecting their Hollywood Film Festival Awards, Bigelow and Hooper each went on to win the best director Oscar, while Scorsese and Russell received nominations.
Last month, the Hollywood Film Awards and Dick Clark Productions, which also produce the Golden Globe Awards, entered into a partnership that could lead to the ceremony being televised in future years. Over the past 10 years, Hollywood Film Awards honorees went on to garner a total of 96 Oscar nominations and 34 Oscars.
Other 2013 honorees who have already been announced include 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o; 42‘s supporting actor Harrison Ford; August: Osage County‘s supporting actress Julia Roberts; Before Midnight lead actress/co-screenwriter Julie Delpy, lead actor/co-screenwriter Ethan Hawke and co-screenwriter/director Richard Linklater; Behind the Candelabra producer Jerry Weintraub; Captain Phillips producer Michael De Luca; Dallas Buyers Club‘s lead actor Matthew McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto; Gravity‘s lead actress Sandra Bullock; Monsters University‘s director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae; Pacific Rim visual effects supervisor John Knoll; and Prisoners‘ supporting actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
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