He will be presented the award at the festival’s gala on Jan. 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs Jan. 2-13.
“Martin Scorsese has directed another masterpiece about the world of organized crime with his latest film ‘The Irishman,’ which brings to life the epic story of hitman Frank Sheeran. The film is one of Scorsese’s finest and features outstanding performances from its stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. “We are delighted to recognize Martin Scorsese with this year’s Sonny Bono Visionary Award for this extraordinary directorial achievement.”
“The Irishman” is one of Netflix’s major Oscar season hopefuls. It’s the ninth time that Robert De Niro has worked with Scorsese and the first time that Al Pacino has been directed by the filmmaker. The cast also includes Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, two longtime Scorsese collaborators.
Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” “The Irishman” focuses on the relationship between hitman Frank Sheeran (De Niro) and labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), who disappeared in 1975 under mysterious circumstances and has never been found.
Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Director Alfonso Cuarón, along with filmmakers Danny Boyle, Michel Hazanavicius, Tom Hooper, Tom McCarthy, Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino. Scorsese joins this year’s previously announced honorees Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger.