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Sean Penn to Receive Joel Siegel Award at Critics' Choice Awards Airing on VH1 1/12

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The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) announced today that renowned actor and humanitarian Sean Penn will be presented with the fifth annual Joel Siegel Award at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards. The award will be presented by fellow actor and 13-time Critics' Choice Award nominee George Clooney. The ceremony will air live on VH1 on Thursday, January 12 at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

Given annually, this special award pays homage to beloved "Good Morning America" film critic and BFCA member Joel Siegel, who lost his long struggle with cancer in June 2007. It seeks to honor those who understand, as Joel did, that the greatest value of celebrity is as an enhanced platform to do good works for others.

Sean Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in the immediate aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Since then J/P HRO has led the effort to raise money and awareness in response to the disaster, which took more than 200,000 lives. Led by Penn, J/P HRO is dedicated to saving lives and bringing sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively.

"We are extremely proud to be able to make this presentation to Sean on this night in particular, exactly two years after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti," says BFCA President Joey Berlin. "While it was heartening to see such an outpouring of support and aid for the Haitian people in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the long-term commitment made by Sean and his organization is particularly notable. The Joel Siegel Award was created to spotlight such above and beyond efforts by the leading lights of our industry and its spirit is truly personified by Sean Penn."

Penn has been nominated for seven Critics' Choice Awards throughout his career, including two wins in the Best Actor category, for "Mystic River" and "Milk." His five additional nominations included Best Actor for "I Am Sam," Best Acting Ensemble for "Mystic River" and "Milk," Best Director for "Into the Wild" and Best Writer for "Into the Wild." In 2011, Penn starred in "The Tree of Life," a Critics' Choice Best Picture nominee.

The evening will also honor Martin Scorsese with the Critics' Choice Music+Film Award. In addition to this honor, Scorsese's film "Hugo" is nominated for 11 Critics' Choice Awards and he directed the Best Documentary Feature nominee "George Harrison: Living in the Material World." Hosts for the star-studded awards gala will be comedians Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel.

The Critics' Choice Movie Awards are bestowed annually by the BFCA to honor the finest in cinematic achievement. The BFCA is the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 250 television, radio and online critics. BFCA members are the primary source of information for today's film going public. Eligible films were released in 2011. The accounting firm of CMM, LLP tallied the written ballots.

Since its inception in 1995, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards has been a star-studded bellwether event of the movie awards season. Historically, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations. Last year, for example, all four of the acting category winners at the Oscars - Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo - first accepted their awards in the same categories at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. In all, 18 of the 20 actors nominated for Oscars were first Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominees.


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