Palm Springs Film Fest: 'Black Mass' Star Johnny Depp to Receive Top Actor Award

The 52-year-old, who is still Oscar-less, could follow in the footsteps of the last eight recipients of this same prize, all of whom landed a best actor nom.
Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp, the veteran actor who has been revered by critics and audiences for a quarter-century, will receive the Palm Springs International Film Festival's highest honor for a male actor, the Desert Palm Achievement Award (Actor), the fest announced on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old, who has received three acting Oscar noms but never has won, is being honored for his portrayal of mobster Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper's Black Mass, for which he has received some of the best reviews of his career. He will pick up the honor at the 27th annual PSIFF Awards Gala on Jan. 2. This year's fest runs Jan. 1-11.

(This news comes just days after the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced that it will present Depp with its highest honor, the Maltin Modern Master Award.)

Previous recipients of the PSIFF award include, in reverse-chronological order, Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) and Sean Penn (Milk). Every one of them went on to receive a best actor Oscar nomination later that month; Redmayne, McConaughey, Day-Lewis, Firth, Bridges and Penn went on to win.

“Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile and dynamic actors of our time,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest film, Black Mass, Depp, in a stunning transformation, creates a gripping and multi-layered portrait of infamous gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. He delivers an astounding performance that has earned raves from both critics and audiences and is sure to garner awards attention. It is our honor to present the 2016 Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor, to Johnny Depp.”

The fest previously announced Carol and Truth lead actress Cate Blanchett will receive its Desert Palm Achievement Award (Actress) and Brooklyn lead actress Saoirse Ronan will receive its International Star Award. It will announce its other honorees in the coming days and weeks.