Mahershala Ali to Receive Breakthrough Performance Award at Palm Springs Film Fest

Critics’ Choice supporting-actor winner lands the award for his performance in “Moonlight”

Mahershala Ali Wrap Luke Cage
Photographed by William Callan for TheWrap

Mahershala Ali, whose very busy 2016 included performances in the films “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” “Free State of Jones” and the TV shows “House of Cards” and “Luke Cage,” will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award at the 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala, PSIFF organizers announced on Friday.

The award comes not for his entire body of work, but for his role as a paternal drug dealer who takes a young boy under his wing in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” The role has brought Ali Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominations, and a supporting-actor win at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Past recipients of the award include Marion Cotillard, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner.

The PSIFF Awards Gala will be held on Monday, January 2, at the beginning of a film festival that will run through January 11. Other honorees include Amy Adams, Casey Affleck, Annette Bening, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Negga, the cast of “Hidden Figures” (including Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons) and “La La Land” stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle.