The festival will make the presentation on Jan. 2 at its awards gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Previously announced honorees are Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Tom McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander.
Mara received nominations this week for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for her work in the lesbian romance. She won best actress for the role at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
“Rooney Mara’s nuanced portrayal of Manhattan shopgirl Therese Belivet opposite Cate Blanchett’s Carol Aird, brings integrity and depth to this story of forbidden love set against the sexual mores of the early 1950s,” said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this brilliant performance, which adds yet another laurel to her diverse career, it is an honor to present Rooney Mara with the 2016 Spotlight Award.”
Past recipients of the spotlight award include J.K. Simmons, Julia Roberts, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams and Helen Hunt. All recipients received Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored and Simmons won the supporting actor Oscar this year for “Whiplash.”