Robert De Niro and Lena Waithe
Robert De Niro and Lena Waithe

Variety will honor Robert De Niro and Emmy-winning writer-producer-actor Lena Waithe with Creative Impact Awards at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Friday, January 3rd as part of Variety’s annual “10 Directors to Watch” brunch at the Parker Palm Springs. Variety will honor Robert De Niro with the Creative Impact in Acting Award and Lena Waithe with the Creative Impact in Producing Award.

Two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro stars as Frank Sheeran in Netflix’s THE IRISHMAN directed by Martin Scorsese. He will be honored with the highly prestigious SAG Life Achievement Award in addition to being nominated for Best Ensemble on January 19th. The film has been nominated for 4 Golden Globes and was named the Best Film of the year by the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, and was named one of the ten best films of the year by AFI.

“Robert De Niro is one of cinema’s greatest actors and his recent collaboration with Martin Scorsese in THE IRISHMAN is a career-best,” says Claudia Eller, Variety Editor-In-Chief. “De Niro embodies Frank Sheeran from a 20 something-year-old man to an elderly man in a nuanced performance that has resonated with audiences and critics alike. We are so glad to be giving him this award at our event.”

THE IRISHMAN marks the greatly anticipated reunion of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for the first time in twenty-four years. The film is their ninth collaboration following such work together on TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS.

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.

Lena Waithe is the screenwriter and producer of Universal Pictures and Makready’s Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas. The film received the Impact Award and was listed as one of the top 10 Best Films of the Year by the African-American Film Critics Association.

“Lena Waithe is one of the most prolific writer-actor-producers working in Hollywood right now, with an extraordinary ability to get projects with black filmmakers and talent produced for film and television,” says Claudia Eller, Variety Editor-In-Chief. “With Queen & Slim, Lena wrote and produced a story that has been central to the conversation regarding representation and storytelling in the black community. Her determination to get these stories told is inspiring.”

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