The Austin Chronicle

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The Texas Film Awards Class of 2014

By Richard Whittaker, February 28, 2014, Screens

With Luke Wilson acting as the master of ceremonies, the 14th annual Texas Film Awards slate runs from last girls to Presley pals to one of the Chronicle's own.

Billy Bob Thornton will deliver the Rising Star Award to native Austinite Amber Heard, a local favorite through her genre roles in last year's Machete Kills and the long-delayed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Her international reputation looks likely to explode with the upcoming adaptation of Martin Amis' novel London Fields and the brand-new Kevin Costner thriller 3 Days to Kill.

She'll probably be sharing a table with the next big name, her Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green, who reached early critical success with George Washington and won over larger audiences with last year's quirky buddy comedy set in the ashes of the Bastrop fire, Prince Avalanche. He'll be receiving his award from his old friend and co-founder of Rough House Pictures, Danny McBride.

Speaking of celebrity inductors, none other than Priscilla Presley will be on hand to give the Soundtrack Award to Lubbock native and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Mac Davis. Initially famous as a regular songwriter for Elvis Presley ("In the Ghetto," "A Little Less Conversation") and Dolly Parton ("White Limozeen"), Davis had his own career as a singer/songwriter and composer, mirrored by his career as an actor, including his iconic role as Seth Maxwell in North Dallas Forty and as vocal talent on King of the Hill.

The annual Star of Texas Award goes to an iconic Texas film, and this year's couldn't be more timely. With Robert Rodriguez prepping the TV adaptation of his 1996 supernatural crime classic, the award this year goes to From Dusk Till Dawn.

And, in a very proud moment for The Austin Chronicle, there's a lifetime achievement award for our editor-in-chief, Louis Black. For co-founding SXSW and the Texas Film Hall of Film Awards themselves; being a key player in the creation and development of the Austin Film Society and Austin Studios; executive producing acclaimed independent documentaries such as Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes van Zandt, The Order of Myths, and The King of Texas; and being a dedicated archivist of lost Lone Star State movies, such as Eagle Pennell's The Whole Shootin' Match and Tobe Hooper's Eggshells, Black's contribution to Texas cinema is being recognized.

The Texas Film Awards take place at Austin Studios (1901 E. 51st) on Thursday, March 6. Tables and tickets are still available; see www.austinfilm.org/tfa. If you feel like turning up later, tickets for the official afterparty are $50 and are available via www.austinfilm.org/texasparty.

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