Johnny Depp Tapped for Desert Palm Achievement Award-Actor

Palm Springs International Film Festival recognizes his Whitey Bulger portrayal in 'Black Mass'

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Johnny Depp (right) transforms into James "Whitey" Bulger in the movie, "Black Mass."
Photos courtesy of Black Mass movie


Johnny Depp will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor for his performance in Black Mass at the 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Awards Gala on Jan. 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Each year the festival, which runs Jan. 1-11, selects an actor and actress to receive this award.

“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.”

Past actor recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne. In the years they were honored, Bridges, Day-Lewis, McConaughey, Penn and Redmayne went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Cooper, Firth and Pitt received Oscar nominations.


Johnny Depp follows Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, and others to receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award.


Depp can currently be seen in Black Mass, which tells of the unholy alliance between ruthless mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp) and childhood friend-turned-FBI agent, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton). The bond, forged growing up on the streets of South Boston, would test the limits of loyalty in a town that answers to its own unwritten code. Blinded by ambition, Connolly convinces Bulger to inform on their common enemy, the Italian Mafia.

The deal allows Bulger to expand his criminal empire with complete impunity, threatening to destroy both men, their families, and the very city that made them. Based on true events, the film is directed by Scott Cooper and features an ensemble cast, also including Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, W. Earl Brown, David Harbour, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott and Juno Temple.

Depp is a three-time Academy Award nominee for Best Actor for his work in Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Over the last three decades, Depp’s diverse range of roles has made him one of the leading actors of his generation including performances in John Waters’ Cry Baby, Benny & Joon, Lasse Hallstrom’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco, Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Ted Demme’s Blow, The Libertine, Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, and several collaborations with Tim Burton including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow.

See related stories:

• "Brooklyn" star Saoirse Ronan Earns Film Festival Recognition

• Cate Blanchett Garners 1st Film Festival Honor


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