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Tom Hanks to receive Chairman's Award at Palm Springs Film Festival

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It was announced Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, that the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will present the Chairman's Award to Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks for "Captain Phillips" and "Saving Mr. Banks" at its annual Awards Gala. Presented by Cartier, the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will be held on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif. Hosted by Mary Hart, the awards gala will also present honors to Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, director Steve McQueen, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Lupita Nyong'o, Thomas Newman, the cast of "American Hustle" and many more in the film industry, to be released soon. The Festival runs January 3-14.

“Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of his generation,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In a remarkable feat that vividly illustrates the range of his talent, this year he portrayed two real life characters, each a powerhouse performance in its own right. In the film 'Captain Phillips,' he plays Richard Phillips, the captain of a ship hijacked by pirates, while in 'Saving Mr. Banks' he plays Walt Disney trying to turn the book 'Mary Poppins' into a film - two roles that couldn't be more divergent. To this star of many talents the Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to honor Tom Hanks and present him with the Chairman’s Award.

Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Gere and Nicole Kidman.

"Captain Phillips" is based on the book by Richard Phillips (with Stephan Talty) titled "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea." The screenplay was adapted by writer Billy Ray and directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Greengrass (UNITED 93) and features the story taken from actual events about cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips. The year is 2009, and Phillips is headed to sail the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama cargo ship through the waters of Somalia to his destination in Mambasa. The ship was taken over by Somali pirates and eventually the pirates took Phillips hostage. It will take Phillips to remain calm, cool and collected and a combination of the U.S. Navy and a team of Navy SEALs to save Captain Phillips. "Captain Phillips" is the role of a lifetime for Tom Hanks and perfectly suited for this actor that rarely disappoints. Hanks transfigures from a man of complete confidence to a person that has been completely stripped of his humanity. The film has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including a nomination for Tom Hanks.

Hanks pairs with Oscar winner Emma Thompson in "Saving Mr. Banks." Hanks plays Walt Disney as he buys the rights to bring the children's classic novel "Mary Poppins" to the silver screen from writer P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). Travers is the only writer given authority by Disney for final approval of the adaptation of "Mary Poppins," and as Travers began to see "Mary Poppins" be devoured by the Disney machine, she put a stop to the work. Not until Disney discovers Travers personal connection to her work will the two agree on the best way to finally make "Mary Poppins" the cinematic treasure that it is today.

Actor Tom Hanks has been nominated for five Academy Awards and he has won two Oscars for his incredible roles in "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump." Hanks is a versatile actor, at home is an action packed drama as well as a romantic comedy. His dramas include "Angels & Demons," "Apollo 13," "Catch Me If You Can," "The Green Mile," "Road to Perdition". Hanks is also known for his romantic comedies with Meg Ryan "Joe Versus the Volcano," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail."

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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


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