The Palm Springs International Film Festival gala or, as
And though they were all seated within a few feet of one another in the airport-hangar-sized Palm Springs Convention Center, these Hollywood stars were more or less allowed to eat their pot-roast dinner in peace.
That's because Bono was in the house.
That's Bono, the singer from the Irish rock band
The Palm Springs festival occurs annually during Oscar nomination balloting (last year was the odd exception), ensuring a healthy turnout among prominent awards-season contenders. Hanks, picking up something called the Chairman's Award for
"To be invited to the Palm Springs International Film Festival is an honor and a delight beyond words and sometimes beyond reasoning," Hanks said. "It means without a doubt the holidays have come to an end and for a few lucky people, the celebrity mule train is just beginning."
That did not mean the evening was without genuine emotion. As Bono noted when accepting an award for U2's humanitarian work: "More people live off their imaginations in California than any other place in the world." And that inventiveness and creativity were on display from the podium, particularly from Bullock and Streep, both of whom noted the challenges women face in Hollywood when you reach a certain age.
"I feel like I'm an example now in my dotage that you just can't put those old gals out to pasture," Streep said to roaring approval, going on to display a little float-like-a-butterfly, sting-like-a-bee footwork that would have made Muhammad Ali proud.
"I don't feel like an icon," the 64-year-old actress added, referencing the name of the award she was receiving. "Most of the days, I feel like I cahn't. That's with an 'a.'"
That humility played well with the gala crowd, a mix of donors, local business folk and academy members who have retired to the desert. With Oscar ballots due Wednesday at 5 p.m. PST, the event is seen by some as a last opportunity to stump and, under the best-case scenario, try out some material for a
"Dallas Buyers Club's" McConaughey, wearing a gold lamé dinner jacket with black-velvet lapels, drew some cheers ("All right, all right, all right"), as did "Nebraska's" Dern. ("What's exciting to me is a bunch of you folks seem to have gotten together and have said Bruce Dern can play.")
Several actors from
But that could have been because Russell followed Bono, who spoke at length about
"And we're at the tipping point — amazing to be able to say this — we are within reach of declaring the first AIDS-free generation," the singer added.
Bono's words cast new light on something Roberts said earlier about acting. "All birds fly finer and faster in formation than any individual bird can ever fly alone." That spirit of community could be felt Saturday night, even amid the flash photography, luxury-brand sponsors and free-flowing alcohol.