David Oyelowo Nabs Breakthrough Performance Award from Palm Springs Film Fest

Performance is attracting critical acclaim

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David Oyelowo will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor for his critically acclaimed performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in director Ava DuVernay’s Selma at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Richard Linklater, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons, Reese Witherspoon and the cast of The Imitation Game. The film festival runs Jan. 2-12.

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Carey Mulligan, Felicity Huffman, Jennifer Hudson and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Cotillard, Hudson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards, while Huffman and Renner received nominations.

Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Producer Oprah Winfrey with actor David Oyelowo.

DirectorDuVernay’s Selma tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.  The Paramount Pictures film is directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Oyelowo, Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey, who also serves as a producer.

In addition to Selma, David Oyelowo appeared in several other films this year including A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, and Default. His other credits include Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Lincoln, The Middle of Nowhere, Jack Reacher, The Paperboy, Complicit, Red Tails, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Help, 96 Minutes, The Last King of Scotland, among many others. His upcoming film projects are Captive, Nightingale, Nina and Five Nights in Maine.

His theatre credits include The Suppliants, The God Brothers, Prometheus Bound, and the title role in Henry VI, which won him The Ian Charleson Award and an Evening Standard award nomination. His TV credits include Spooks/MI:5, Born Equal, A Raisin in the Sun, As You Like It and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. He won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor and was also nominated for a BAFTA for the same role for his work on Small Island and won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his performance in Five Days.


  • See related stories:

Eddie Redmayne Earns 1st Accolade from Palm Springs International Film Festival

Julianne Moore Earns Top Actress Award From Palm Springs International Film Festival

J.K. Simmons Will Receive Palm Springs Film Fest's Spotlight Award

Rosamund Pike Merits Palm Springs Film Festival's Breakthrough Performance Award

Richard Linklater Earns Film Fest's Sonny Bono Visionary Award

Palm Springs Film Fest Screens Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Nominees

Reese Witherspoon will Receive Chairman's Award from Palm Springs Film Fest

"The Imitation Game" Garners Ensemble Award from Palm Springs Film Fest


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