Palm Springs fest to honor Mariah Carey

Awards gala takes place Jan. 5

Mariah Carey will receive the breakthrough performance award at the 21st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Carey is being honored for her performance in Lionsgate's "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." Festival chairman Harold Matzner said Carey "completely transformed herself from a glamorous music icon to a forthright social worker for the role of Ms. Weiss in 'Precious.' "

Past recipients of the breakthrough performance award include Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman and Freida Pinto.

Carey will join previously announced honorees Morgan Freeman and Anna Kendrick at the event. The music diva began her acting career with a small role in the 1999 romantic comedy "The Bachelor" and followed with a turn in the semi-autobiographical "Glitter," with Terrence Howard. Other screen appearances include "Wisegirls" and "Tennessee."

The awards gala is the first award show of the year, taking place January 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The film festival runs January 5-18, 2010.