The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Helen Hunt with the Spotlight Award at its awards gala on Jan 5.

Hunt, whose performance as a sex surrogate opposite John Hawkes in awards contender The Sessions, is the first honouree to be announced by PSIFF top brass.

“Few can claim the artistic distinctions of Helen Hunt,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. “A consummate actress, director, producer and screenwriter, Hunt’s talents are myriad.”

Prior recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain, who both went on to earn Academy Award nominations in the year they were selected for PSIFF honours.

The festival is scheduled to run from Jan 3-14.