The film Green Book will be honored with the Vanguard Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 3. The Vanguard Award is a group honor distinguishing a film’s cast and director in recognition of their collective work on an exceptional film project.
Actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as well as director Peter Farrelly are expected to attend. Green Book joins previously announced honorees Glenn Close, Rami Malek and Melissa McCarthy. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart and Entertainment Tonight, and presented by American Express, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs Jan. 3-14.
“Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are an on-camera dream team in the crowd-pleasing film Green Book, inspired by a true friendship, about a New York City bouncer hired to drive and protect pianist Dr. Don Shirley on a concert tour in the Deep South,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Director Peter Farrelly, who also co-wrote the script, delivers a heartfelt movie-going experience that is guaranteed to receive awards attention for the actors, its director and the film itself.”
Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include The Shape of Water and La La Land.
When Frank Anthony Vallelonga, aka Tony Lip (Mortensen), a New York City bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive and protect Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book — a travel guide to safe lodging, dining and business options for African Americans during the era of segregation and Jim Crow laws — to steer them to places where Shirley will not be refused service, humiliated, or threatened with violence.
Set against the backdrop of a country grappling with the valor and volatility of the Civil Rights Movement, two men will be confronted with racism and danger and be comforted by generosity, kindness and their own unique senses of humor. Together, they will challenge long-held assumptions, push past their seemingly insurmountable differences, and embrace their shared humanity. The film is from Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures.