Alexander Payne will receivethe Director of the Year award at the 16th Annual Palm SpringsInternational Film Festival (PSIFF).

Payne, whose latest picture Sideways has garnered a host of best pictureawards from North American critics groups and picked up seven Golden Globenominations, will collect the honour at the annual awards gala on Jan 8.

"We are thrilled to be able to include Alexander Payne among our honoreesat the festival's awards gala," festival chairman Earl Greenberg said in astatement.

"He absolutely shines as a writer and director and his many talents arereflected by the many accolades that his latest feature film has received. Thisyear's honorees may be the most talented collection of artists that thefestival has honored to date."

Payne has previously directed and co-written with Jim Taylor About Schmidt,Election and Citizen Ruth, among others.

He joins a high-profile group of honorees including Nicole Kidman, KirkDouglas, Kevin Spacey, Samuel LJackson, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Bryce Dallas Howard and Howard Shore.."

The festival will also honour Walter Salles on Jan 12. The Brazilian director's latest release The Motorcycle Diaries, already an audience award winner at San Sebastian and recipient of a trio of prizes at Cannes including the Francois Chalais Award, has been nominated for a best foreign film Golden Globe and three Independent Spirit Awards.