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Matthew McConaughey is honored at Palm Spring International Film Festival

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Actor Matthew McConaughey was presented with the Independent Spirit Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival at its annual awards gala on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Palm Springs, Calif. McConaughey was honored for his work in his new film "Dallas Buyers Club." Presented by Cartier, the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala was hosted by television personality Mary Hart. The awards gala also presented honors to Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, director Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, Lupita Nyong'o, Thomas Newman and the cast of "American Hustle." The Festival runs January 3-14, 2014.

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Taking to the stage to present Matthew McConaughey his award was actor Gary Oldman. Oldman described McConaughey's performance as fearless, honest, sincere and free.

Matthew McConoughey graced the stage with suave and grace. "Dallas Buyers Club was not an easy story to find. They don't come across our desk that often. It's been the best film in my career, that is for sure!"

“Matthew McConaughey is the rare actor who effortlessly moves between cinematic genres. From drama to thrillers to romantic comedies, he captivates audiences with the depth and range of his performances,” says Harold Matzner, Chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. “In the acclaimed new movie 'Dallas Buyers Club,' McConaughey plays real-life cowboy Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and given a month to live – but fought for dignity, acceptance, and living life to the fullest. We are privileged to present Matthew McConaughey with an award that honors his extraordinary and versatile talent, the 2014 Desert Palm Achievement Award for acting.”

Past actor recipients of the Independent Spirit Award include Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Penn, and Brad Pitt. In the years they were honored, Bridges, Day-Lewis, and Penn went on to win an Oscar for Best Actor, while Cooper, Gyllenhaal, Firth and Pitt received Academy Award nominations.

"Dallas Buyers Club" was inspired by true events and was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from an original screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack. The film also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto. "Dallas Buyers Club" is a favorite of the top critics and has earned an impressive 93 percent fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

Matthew McConaughey hales from Texas and is one of Hollywood's most bankable actors. He has starred in "Mud," "Dazed and Confused," "Magic Mike," "Bernie," "The Paperboy," "Killer Joe," Frailty," "The Lincoln Lawyer," "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," "Tropic Thunder," "We Are Marshall," "U-571," "EDtv," "The Newton Boys," "Amistad," "Contact," "A Time to Kill" and "Lone Star." He will also be starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s "The Wolf of Wall Street," which opened on Christmas Day.

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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cellphones and no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.

-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com

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