Palm Springs, CA (February 1, 2021) – The Palm Springs International Film Awards has announced that Leslie Odom, Jr. is the recipient of the Spotlight Award, Actor for One Night in Miami.
“Leslie Odom, Jr. is a truly talented performer. In his latest project, One Night in Miami, Odom Jr. brilliantly portrays singer Sam Cooke with charisma and tenacity, as he joins iconic figures Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown in this fictionalized account that is based on their actual meeting,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “It is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actor to Leslie Odom, Jr.”
Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actor include Timothée Chalamet, Bryan Cranston, Jamie Foxx, Andrew Garfield, Sam Rockwell and J.K. Simmons. In the years they were honored Rockwell and Simmons won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Odom, Jr. joins this year’s previously announced honoree Riz Ahmed (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Carey Mulligan (International Star Award), Gary Oldman (Chairman’s Award), Chloé Zhao (Director of the Year Award) and The Trail of the Chicago 7 (Vanguard Award). The Festival and Film Awards Gala will not take place as an in-person event this year, but honoree selections will be announced to recognize this year’s great performances and Entertainment Tonight will air a tribute to the honorees scheduled on February 11th and February 25th.
On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali, (Eli Goree), defeats heavy weight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Based on the award-winning play of the same name, and directed by Regina King, One Night in Miami is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. It looks at the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. For the film, King also enlisted Odom to write and perform the original song, “Speak Now.”
Leslie Odom, Jr. is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning and Emmy nominated performer – with a multifaceted career that spans all performance genres: Broadway, television, film, and music. Odom is best known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording. The recently released film performance of the original Broadway production is on Disney+. His film and television credits include Music, Needle in A Timestack, Love in the Time of Corona, Harriet, Murder on the Orient Express, Only, Red Tails and Smash. He can currently be heard voicing the character of ‘Owen Tillerman’ in the Apple TV+ animated musical-comedy series Central Park, for which he received an Emmy nomination. This fall he will star in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos. In March 2018, Odom released his book – Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher and Never Stop Learning.
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, which is presented by American Express and sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Cate Blanchett, Mary J. Blige, Sandra Bullock, Mariah Carey, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Cynthia Erivo, Jamie Foxx, Gal Gadot, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Regina King, Jennifer Lawrence, Rami Malek, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon and more. Awards are provided by Chihuly and John Kennedy Studios. Both events are produced by the Palm Springs International Film Society, whose mission is to nurture and encourage new filmmaking talent, honoring the great masters of world cinema, and expanding audience horizons.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Film Awards Gala will return in 2022. Palm Springs ShortFest is still scheduled for June 22-28, 2021. The Film Society has continued to host year-round member screenings and events virtually until theatres are able to open. For additional information visit www.psfilmfest.org or call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256.
Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
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