Palm Springs Film Fest: '12 Years' Helmer Steve McQueen Chosen As Director of Year

Steve McQueen
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Starring Michael Fassbender, the writer-director's Shame was nominated for Outstanding British Film.

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Steve McQueen will receive the Director of the Year Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, it was announced Thursday.

The 43-year-old Brit, who helmed this year's Oscar frontrunner 12 Years a Slave, will be honored on Jan. 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center as part of the festival's 25th edition, which runs from Jan. 3-13.

"McQueen captivates his audiences by challenging them with often unorthodox and unrelenting subject matter and technique,” PSIFF chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement.  “He is a master of utilizing the senses to create the essence of his works."

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Past recipients of the award include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell and Robert Zemeckis.

The fest previously announced that it will honor Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey with its Desert Palm Award, Actor; Gravity's Sandra Bullock with its Desert Palm Award, Actress; and Nebraska's Bruce Dern with its Career Achievement Award. Additional announcements are expected shortly.

McQueen earned considerable critical acclaim for his first two feature films prior to 12 Years a Slave, Hunger (2008), a drama about an IRA hunger striker which won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and Shame (2011), a drama about a sex addict which won several prizes at the Venice Film Festival. Both of those films star Michael Fassbender, who also plays a prominent part in 12 Years.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg