Palm Springs, CA (December 26, 2019) – The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Jamie Foxx with the Spotlight Award, Actor for his role in Just Mercy at its annual Film Awards Gala. The event, presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart, is scheduled for Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.
“In Just Mercy, Jamie Foxx gives a moving and truly remarkable performance as Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death for a murder, for which he was wrongly convicted,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “This is an inspiring drama that brings an important story about how our justice system can fail to the big screen. It is a story that audiences should see. It is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actor to Jamie Foxx.”
Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actor include Timothée Chalamet, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Sam Rockwell and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award® nominations in the year they were honored, with Rockwell and Simmons winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Foxx joins this year’s previously announced honorees Antonio Banderas (International Star Award, Actor), Laura Dern (Career Achievement Award), Adam Driver (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Cynthia Erivo (Breakthrough Performance Award), Zack Gottsagen (Rising Star Award), Jennifer Lopez (Spotlight Award, Actress), 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).
For his role in the film, Foxx won Best Supporting Actor from the African-American Film Critics Association and has received several nominations, including Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role from the Screening Actors Guild (SAG) Awards; Outstanding Supporting Actor, Motion Picture from the Black Reel Awards; and Best Supporting Actor from AARP Movies for Grownups Awards.
Powerful and thought-provoking, Just Mercy is based on the true story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
In addition to Jordan, Foxx and Larson, the film stars Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Karan Kendrick. Just Mercy was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Andrew Lanham, based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson. It was produced by Gil Netter, Asher Goldstein and Jordan. Just Mercy is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures in Association with Endeavor Content/One Community/Participant Media/Macro, a Gil Netter Production, an Outlier Society Production. It opens nationwide on January 10, 2020.
Jamie Foxx is an award-winning American actor, singer, and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, a BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, all for his stunning portrayal of Ray Charles in the 2004 biographical film Ray. The same year, he was also nominated for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe and SAG Award, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, for his work in the thriller Collateral. His other recent prominent acting credits include: Edgar Wright’s 2017 hit film Baby Driver, opposite Ansel Elgort and Jon Hamm, and the titular role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 feature Django Unchained. Foxx began his career in entertainment as a stand-up comic, which soon led to his being cast in the FOX comedy In Living Color. From 1996 to 2001, Foxx starred in his own comedy, The Jamie Foxx Show. In addition, Foxx is a Grammy Award-winning musician, releasing four albums that have charted high on the Billboard 200 chart: Unpredictable (2005), which topped the chart; Intuition (2008); Best Night of My Life (2010); and Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses (2015).