Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PALM SPRINGS: Behind the scenes at the film festival's awards gala

PALM SPRINGS: Behind the scenes at the film festival's awards gala

Here are five moments you didn’t get to see behind the scenes at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Awards Gala on Saturday night.
  
Steve Carell presented Julianne Moore with the Desert Palm Achievement Award - actress for Still Alice at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. Not to be outdone by Brad Pitt, Carell led the audience in a sing-along of how to pronounce Julianne.
Steve Carell presented Julianne Moore with the Desert Palm Achievement Award - actress for "Still Alice" at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. Not to be outdone by Brad Pitt, Carell led the audience in a sing-along of how to pronounce "Julianne."
 
AP
 
BY VANESSA FRANKO / STAFF WRITER

Your desert forecast

The Palm Springs International Film Festival has gained a reputation for snagging performers each year who go on to snare Academy Award nominations. Here are some participants in this year's event—honorees, presenters and plain ol' attendees alike—who appear safe to order their Oscar garb:
BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, "Still Alice," and Reese Witherspoon, "Wild," both seem like sure things. Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl," and Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everyyhing," have gotten a Oscar buzz, too.
BEST ACTOR
Palm Springs may have landed all five nominees-to-be. Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher," Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything," Michael Keaton, "Birdman," and Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game," are among this year's favorites. Newcomer David Oyelowo, "Selma," has a shot, too, and, should he win, folks will know how to say his name. Thanks, Brad.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash" and Robert Duvall, "The Judge," will almost certainly duel for the statuette.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Keira Knightley, who was among the honorees for Ensemble Performance Award for "The Imitation Game" but wasn't in attendance, seems like a sure thing. Laura Dern, "Wild," is a longer shot but has made many critics' lists.
BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood," Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "Birdman," and Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game," all walked the red carpet in Palm Springs and will likely meet again on the Oscar runway. And Ava DuVernay of "Selma" may well join the gents at the Dolby Theater.
When: Through Jan. 12
Where: Various locations throughout Palm Springs, including the Annenberg Auditorium, Camelot Theatres, Palm Canyon Theatre, Palm Springs High School, Regal Cinemas Palm Springs 9 and Birba
Admission: Individual passes $12; matinees $11; Talking Pictures programs $25; six-pack of tickets $60
Information: 800-898-7256, psfilmfest.org
Sure, America got to see the scores of snapshots of all the stars on the red carpet.

And you likely got to see (and hear) Brad Pitt’s not-so-tuneful singalong.

But here are five moments from the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which kicked off the awards season with its glitzy annual gala on Saturday night, that you almost certainly didn’t get a chance to see.

1. Next year, how about some karaoke?

Sure, it went viral. So you likely saw Brad Pitt’s lesson on how to pronounce “Selma” star David Oyelowo’s name into a soccer-style sing-along – in what will forever be known as the “OHH-YELL-OH-WOAH” moment. “You know you've broken through when Brad Pitt sings your name,” the amused actor said in response.

But you may not have heard “the other singalong.”

As actor and funnyman Steve Carell took the stage to present Julianne Moore with the Desert Palm Achievement Award for her portrayal of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice,” he led the audience in a sing-song pronunciation of “Julianne.”

It wasn’t quite as, er, groundbreaking as Brad’s.

2. Robert Downey kissed us. Honest.

Ah, love. Robert Downey Jr. avoided the press on the red carpet, but he didn’t shun the media completely.

He blew kisses as he raced down the red carpet into the Palm Springs Convention Center. And then as he walked across the stage before he gave Robert Duvall, his co-star in “The Judge,” the Icon Award, he blew the crowd more kisses.

3. Many puzzled returns

When veteran character actor J.K. Simmons, star of “Whiplash” and recipient of the Spotlight Award, stopped to talk on the red carpet, we welcomed him back to the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Befuddled, he responded that he had never been there before.

We gently reminded him that he walked the carpet when the cast of the quirky indie film “Juno” back in 2008 was honored with the “Chairman’s Vanguard Award.”

We are saving this clipping for J.K., in case he returns next year.

4. Say “Cheese”

Those snapping away in the photo pit at the top of the red carpet saw the other side of the lens as Patrick Stewart, loved for his role of Captain ‎Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” turned his iPhone around to get a picture of the sea of photographers.

Stewart was attending the festival to promote his new film, “Match.” In fact, Stewart and co-stars Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino had to ditch the awards gala mid-event to attend the Saturday night festival screening.

5. Lights, camera, um, more lights?

Actress Suzanne Somers, prowling the red carpet with her longtime husband Alan Hamel, is a proud Palm Springs resident and a regular at the festival. The “Three's Company” star is not one of those folks who scurries past the cameras with a snotty “not now” wave. She has time for all.

As she stopped by a group of desert media members, a reporter asked for her new year’s wish.

“My wish is that you had better lighting,” she winked at a videographer. “You’re going to make me look 100 years old!”

Somers, 68, looked just fab, by the way, in any light.

Staff writer Tom Bray contributed to this report

Contact the writer: vfranko@pe.com or 951-368-9575

The Palm Springs Guru thanks Vanessa  Franko, Tom Bray and all our friends at http://www.pe.com/articles/carpet-757565-palm-festival.html for this outstanding coverage of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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