Now celebrating its 26th year, the festival (January 2-12) will accord Witherspoon this honor at its annual Awards Gala on Saturday, January 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman.
As previously announced, Richard Linklater, Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Rosamund Pike and J.K. Simmons will receive acting prizes from the festival, an important award season stepping stone en route to Oscar.
Witherspoon is all but locked for a nomination at this point for her moving performance as Cheryl Strayed, the writer who walked 1000 miles to find herself. Witherspoon also co-produced the Fox Searchlight film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée . It’s now in theaters.