Steve McQueen, a red hot Oscar contender for 12 Years A Slave, will receive the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s (PSIFF) Director Of The Year Award.

“Director Steve McQueen captivates his audiences by challenging them with often unorthodox and unrelenting subject matter and technique,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner.

“McQueen is a master of utilising the senses to create the essence of his works. In his latest effort, 12 Years A Slave, audiences become integrally involved in the unbearably violent nightmare of a free black man, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, eventually to return home to freedom.”

McQueen, a renowned visual artist, previously directed Shame and Hunger.

Past Director Of The Year honourees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman, David O Russell and Robert Zemeckis.

The awards gala takes place on January 4 and the festival runs from January 3-13 2014.