Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glitz & Glamour at Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala

Awards Main Stage Set backdrop
Last night I attended the Awards Gala for the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Our festival runs for 12 days showing 188 films from 73 countries, which makes it truly an International showcase for Independent Films around the globe. 

in the limo headed to the Awards Gala

"Entertainer" statuette

The Gala is always held before the major awards events start and are viewed by insiders as precursors to who will win (Golden Globes, Oscars, SAG Awards). Many of prior year award recipients went on to win an Oscar at the Academy Awards.
...a media frenzy...
As I've written previously, Palm Springs remains a popular getaway destination among the Hollywood set. Actors, directors, writers, studio execs, etc continue to flock to our fair desert city to relax in the sun. Many maintain second homes here, or quietly take a house for the season. 
on the red carpet
The Palm Springs Film Festival is important to Hollywood because the studios and especially independent filmmakers and distributors need to build buzz around their projects and get noticed. Major stars, directors and studio executives  come to the desert to pick up an award or two. 
Glenn Close
This year, at our Awards Gala, eleven stars received awards, including George Clooney, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and the creative ensemble of "Young Adult" including director Jason Reitman, writer Diablo Cody, Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt. Also honored were directors Stephen Daldry and Michel Hazanavicius, and music composer Howard Shore. 
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt
For celeb watchers, there were loads of other major celebrities who attended the awards gala last night. As the doors of sparkling stretch limos opened, a series of stars emerged including Angela Jolie, Tom Hanks, Jonah Hill, Al Pacino, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, Melissa McCarthy, Shailene Woodley, Jeff Goldbloom, Jerry Weintraub and Judy Greer. Revelers young and old alike were not disappointed. 
George Clooney signs autographs
Palm Springs truly had a lot of glamour and glitz last night. Most of the time when celebrities are in town, they are here relaxing, incognito, and not walking red carpets, so this evening is a big deal even for a town that sees A-list celebs every day. Here are a few photos of inside the Awards Gala, to give you a sense of the evening's glamour:
Glamour and Glitz for sure
The inside of the Awards Gala was set up to have a big Hollywood Awards feel. Dramatic lighting, spotlights, and huge screens hovered over a large stage before an audience of 1,900 people attending the black tie affair.

Purple tulip centerpieces
Each table had a beautifully lighted floral centerpiece of purple tulips. The tables were set with purple table cloths and chair-covers. Lovely glass napkin rings with a large purple butterfly put an interesting accent on each place-setting. Penfolds is a major sponsor of the event, providing wine at each table, in addition to their sponsorship of the festival this year.
the bar were elegantly decorated
At the back of the room, were a number of bars set up, elegantly decorated with fresh purple tulips illuminated with dramatic lighting. It perfectly punctuated the watering hole for thirsty guests!

Enjoying a martini
It is hard for me to resist an ice cold vodka martini at these events. They always seem to taste better when wearing a tux. I limited myself to just one for the evening, as I knew it would be a long night of mixing, mingling and long acceptance speeches. Being a black tie affair, everyone was well dressed and in their season's best. I haven't seen so many diamonds in one place since I had been  in a Cartier store in New York!
OK, now for a series of photos of the awards ceremony. These are photos of various celebs as they are on stage giving remarks.
Brad Pitt: Desert Palm Achievement Award

George Clooney: Chairman's Award

Glenn Close: Career Achievement Award

Jessica Chastain: Spotlight Award

Kenneth Brannaugh introduces Michelle Williams

Melissa McCarthy introduces Octavia Spencer

Michelle Williams: Desert Palm Achievement Award

Octavia Spencer: Breakthrough Award

Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn

AFTER PARTY PICS: the dance floor was packed

AFTER PARTY PICS: the cheese table was amazing

AFTER PARTY PICS: Dessert Table: Chocolate goodies!

AFTER PARTY PICS: Lithographs of award recipients

Here are a few photos of the after party. Aside from all the celebrity focus, I hope you enjoyed my recap of the 2012 Awards Gala. It was a lot of fun, and a real treat. 

Most important however is that the Palm Springs Film Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting independent film making, particularly here in the Palm Springs area. If you are an aspiring writer, director, producer, actor, etc know that the Palm Springs Film Society is a friend to you. Support your local film festivals, to help them thrive and continue to fund projects. You may also see a film or two that might stimulate your mind a bit.


Unknown said...

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Diane J Standiford said...

Call me crazy, but I LOVE award events for actors/film/TV, and film festivals. LOVE

Cheryl said...

I always love your coverage of the Film Festival. I would think the stars love the glamor of the awards season. Thanks for the inside view Rick.


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