British actress Cynthia Erivo to receive top film festival prize

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

British actress Cynthia Erivo is set to be honoured with a prestigious film festival prize.

The star of biopic Harriet will receive the breakthrough performance award at the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Film Awards Gala next month.

The film sees the 32-year-old Londoner play slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous women in US history.

Cynthia Erivo is set to receive a top film festival award (Ian West/PA)

Erivo – who has earned both Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Harriet – is tipped by many to pick up another nod at the Oscars.

Festival chairman Harold Matzner said: “She is a star on the rise and for her portrayal that has garnered much critical acclaim and has received several award nominations, it is our honour to present her with the breakthrough performance award.”

Erivo is known for her portrayal of Celie in the Broadway revival of The Colour Purple, for which she took home Tony, Emmy and Grammy awards.

Her film roles include Widows and Bad Times At The El Royale.

Previous winners of the breakthrough performance award include Oscar winners Mahershala Ali, Brie Larson, Rami Malek and Lupita Nyong’o.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Film Awards Gala takes place on January 2 2020.