Ahead of the theatrical release of his feature directorial debut Breath, Simon Baker is set to receive this year’s AACTA Trailblazer Award.

To be presented to the actor and director at the ceremony on Wednesday evening, the discretionary award, determined by the AACTA board, recognises the achievements of an Aussie screen practitioner whose “body of work has served as an inspiration to others” and who has promoted local screen culture at home and abroad.

Previous winners have included Isla Fisher and Rose Byrne.

Baker has starred in films such as L.A. Confidential, The Killer Inside Me, Ride With the Devil, The Devil Wears Prada and Margin Call. He was the lead in TV series The Mentalist from 2008, and has also starred in the series The Guardian.

Breath, an adaptation of the Tim Winton novel of the same name, will be released next May via Roadshow. Starring Baker, Elizabeth Debicki and Richard Roxburgh, as well as newcomers Samson Coulter and Ben Spence, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to positive reviews. 

Of the award, Simon Baker said: “It’s an honour to be acknowledged at all, but to be acknowledged at home, in Australia, resonates so profoundly for me.”

AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said: “Simon Baker’s stellar reputation with audiences and industry worldwide has made him an incredible ambassador for the Australian screen industry and the outstanding screen talent it produces.

“From his success on US television to his return to Australia for his feature film directorial debut, Simon’s career trajectory stands as an inspiration to future generations in the industry.”

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