“Wild,” which Reese Witherspoon shepherded from bestselling memoir to 2015 Oscars contender as both producer and actress, arrived in theaters this week. Witherspoon”s chances at a Best Actress nomination are strong. A win is a different story – if “Wild” performs like gangbusters over the next month, anything could happen. Helping the process are awards-friendly bumps like the Palm Springs Film Festival. PSIFF announced today that Witherspoon would receive its Chairman”s Award at the annual gala.
“Reese Witherspoon delivers one of her finest performances in 'Wild,'” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner in a statement. “Witherspoon brilliantly brings to life the true story of Cheryl Strayed, adding yet another iconic performance to her impressive 20-year span of characters including June Carter, Tracy Flick and Elle Woods. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Reese Witherspoon with the Chairman”s Award.”
Past recipients of the Chairman”s Award include Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman.
In “Wild,” Witherspoon stars as Cheryl Strayed, a former heroin addict who walked the thousand-mile Pacific Crest Trail in hopes of shaking off her addictive personality. Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) directs the film, which costars Laura Dern as Cheryl”s mother. Witherspoon also produced the film through her Pacific Standard Films banner.
If “Wild” earns Witherspoon a Best Actress Oscar, it”ll be her second. She picked up a statue in 2006 for “Walk the Line.” Witherspoon is also a Golden Globes nominee, earning nods for her work in “Election” and “Legally Blonde.”
Witherspoon will join honorees Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Rosamund Pike, J.K. Simmons, and Richard Linklater at the PSIFF Awards Gal, to be held Saturday, Jan. 3.