Born in Los Angeles, Gyllenhaal shot to global attention in 2001 as the lead in Richard Kelly’s cult psychological thriller “Donnie Darko,” for which he received an Independent Sprit nomination for Best Actor.
Among his best known subsequent roles are leads in Sam Mendes’ “Jarhead” (2005); his BAFTA-winning performance in Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” (2005); David Fincher’s “Zodiac” (2007); Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers” (2009); Duncan Jones’ “Source Code” (2011); and Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” (2013).
Gyllenhaal’s most recent credits comprise Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler,” Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw,” Balthasar Kormakur’s “Everest,” and Jean-Marc Vallee’s offbeat dramedy “Demolition” in which he plays a Wall Street financier contending with the demolishing death of his wife in odd ways.
Gyllenhaal’s performance as a compelling sociopath in “Nightcrawler” earned him Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Award nominations last year. He also served as a producer on that pic. Further flexing his acting muscles, Gyllenhaal underwent a punishing regimen to transform himself into champion boxer Billy Hope for Fuqua’s “Southpaw.” Most recently he came to grips with the challenge of playing Scott Fischer in “Everest,” which is Kormakur’s account of the ill-fated May 1996 expedition that saw eight climbers expire in a blizzard trying to scale the highest mountain on Earth.
“Jake Gyllenhaal is a huge talent and undeniably one of the most accomplished actors of his generation,” said Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of the Dubai fest. “His screen presence has captivated audiences since his earliest roles and he is one of the most versatile actors working today. We are absolutely delighted to honour his extraordinary talents with Variety’s International Star of the Year Award at this year’s festival.”
Steven Gaydos, Vice President, Executive Editor, Variety added: “Jake Gyllenhaal’s promise as an actor was clear almost from the beginning of his illustrious career. ‘Donnie Darko’ is a cult classic and his work in films such as ‘October Sky,’ ‘The Good Girl’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ signalled the emergence of a major new acting talent. While his Oscar-nominated turn in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ delivered on that promise, the last few years have witnessed an explosion of great work that matches the best actors of any generation. ‘Southpaw,’ ‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘Enemy,’ ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Everest,’ and ‘End of Watch’ all demonstrate this vital young artist’s skills, amazing range, and the depths to which he’ll travel to find his own unique truth and personal insights into each of these complex and often haunted characters.”
A public ‘In Conversation’ Q&A with Jake Gyllenhaal will be held during the fest.
Variety annually presents this award to a great film personality during Dubai in acknowledgment of their outstanding contribution to the industry.
The 12th edition of the Dubai fest will run December 9-16.