Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hollywood’s Top Stars Shine at 21st Annual PSIFF Awards Gala

Jason Reitman & Michele Lee; Lynn St. David & Norman Jewison
21st PSIFF Awards Gala -- Red Carpet Arrivals
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Kicking off Awards Season, the 21st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Awards Gala, presented by Cartier, was held Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at the Palm Springs Convention Center hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart. Honorees Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Quentin Tarantino were presented with an original Chihuly Glass Sculpture designed by Dale Chihuly, while the other honorees received the John Kennedy "The Entertainer" statue.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala honors individuals in the entertainment industry with several prestigious awards for acting, director, achievement in film scoring and life achievement. Celebrating this year’s honorees, Cartier Pages wearing their signature Cartier red jackets and bell caps greeted guests upon their arrival and presented awards to the honorees. In addition, Cartier presented special gifts of a classic Cartier Tank Solo watch to each honoree at the Awards Gala.

Cartier Welcomed Host Mary Hart and PSIFF Festival Honorees Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett, Mariah Carey, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Anna Kendrick, Helen Mirren, Jason Reitman, Jeremy Renner and Quentin Tarantino.

The following awards were presented at this year’s Awards Gala...

Anna Kendrick received the Rising Star Award presented by Up in the Air producer Ivan Reitman

Anna Kendrick
(Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Anna Kendrick was presented with the Rising Star Award for her striking, multifaceted performance in Up in the Air at the Festival’s annual Awards Gala.

At age 12, Kendrick received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as Dinah in High Society. Now in her mid 20s, she has gone from strength to strength with each succeeding screen roll.

Up in the Air is a dramatic comedy from Jason Reitman, the Oscar® nominated director of Juno. The film stars Oscar® winner George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened by a young, upstart efficiency expert (Kendrick) just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles. The film also stars Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman.

Actress Anna Kendrick notably starred in PictureHouse’s Rocket Science directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Her performance as an ultra-competitive high school debate team member garnered critical acclaim and the film received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Anna was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film.

In 2008, Kendrick was seen in the blockbuster feature film Twilight. She will also star in the sequel, New Moon. Currently, Kendrick is on location filming the third installment of the popular Twilight Saga, entitled Eclipse.

Kendrick made her feature film debut in Todd Graff’s Camp, a darling of the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Her performance in the cult hit earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination as well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Annual Chlotrudis Awards. Most recently, Kendrick wrapped production on the Universal film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera.

An accomplished theater veteran, Kendrick began her career as Dinah Lord in the 1997 Broadway musical production of High Society for which she received a Tony® Award Nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. At 12 years old, the honor made her the second youngest Tony nominee in award history. Kendrick also garnered Drama League and Theatre World awards as well as Drama Desk and FANY award nominations. Kendrick’s additional theater work includes a featured role with the New York City Opera’s production of A Little Night Music, starring Jeremy Irons, My Favorite Broadway/The Leading Ladies: Live at Carnegie Hall, and Broadway workshops of Jane Eyre and The Little Princess.

Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Adam Beach, Jessica Biel, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Bryce Dallas Howard, Terrence Howard and Scarlett Johansson.

Helen Mirren received the Career Achievement Award – Actress presented by Morgan Freeman

Helen Mirren & Morgan Freeman
(Photos by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Oscar® winner Helen Mirren was presented with the Festival’s Career Achievement Award for her large and distinguished body of work. Mirren is one of the most outstanding actresses of her generation and she delivers another fine performance in The Last Station.

Mirren stars in the Sony Pictures Classic release The Last Station, a tale of two romances, one beginning and one near its end. The film is a complex, funny, rich and emotional story about the difficulty of living with love and the impossibility of living without it. Scheduled to open in late December, the film written and directed by Michael Hoffman also stars Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy.

Mirren launched her career in London at the National Youth Theatre, playing Cleopatra. Her film career began with Michael Powell’s Age of Consent, but her breakthrough role came with John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday, opposite Bob Hoskins. Mirren earned her first Academy Award nomination as Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, a role that won her another Best Actress Award from the Cannes Film Festival. She earned her second Oscar nomination for her role as the housekeeper in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. Her most celebrated role was as Elizabeth II in Stephen Frear’s The Queen, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress along with a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG and numerous other awards from around the world. Other film credits include Excalibur, Calendar Girls, The Clearing, Shadowboxer, The Mosquito Coast and The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover. Her upcoming projects include Brighton Rock, Love Ranch, The Debt and The Tempest.

Jason Reitman received Director of the Year Award presented by Norman Jewison

Jason Reitman
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Up in the Air is a dramatic comedy from Jason Reitman, the Oscar®-nominated director of Juno. The film stars Oscar-winner George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened by a young, upstart efficiency expert (Anna Kendrick) just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles. The film also stars Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman.

Reitman was honored by the Festival in 2008 with the Chairman’s Vanguard Award for Juno, which was also presented to the cast and writer Diablo Cody. Juno earned widespread praise following its debut at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, and grossed over $230m worldwide. Reitman was nominated for an Academy Award for directing Juno, and the film earned one win for Diablo Cody’s screenplay and additional nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Ellen Page). Juno won three Independent Spirit awards and a Grammy Award. Reitman made his feature film directing debut with the 2006 hit Thank You For Smoking. The film went on to earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay, and a WGA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Reitman was also named Best Debut Director by the National Board of Review.

Past PSIFF Director of the Year honorees include Sean Penn, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne and Ang Lee.

Jeff Bridges received the Desert Palm Achievement Award – Actor presented by Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer & Jeff Bridges
(Photos: John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Jeff Bridges’ career is the very embodiment of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, which was created to acknowledge acting excellence, and years of consistent and memorable work. This year, in his remarkable performance in Crazy Heart, he once again shows us why he is considered one of America’s greatest actors.

Four-time Academy Award® nominee Jeff Bridges stars as the richly comic, semi-tragic romantic anti-hero Bad Blake in the debut feature film Crazy Heart from writer-director Scott Cooper. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times.

Jeff Bridges earned his first Oscar nod in 1971 for Best Supporting Actor in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show. Three years later he received his second Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Michael Cimino’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. By 1984 he landed top kudos with a Best Actor nomination for Starman, which also earned him a Golden Globe nomination. In 2001, he was honored with another Golden Globe nomination and his fourth Oscar nomination for his role in The Contender. His additional film credits include The Open Road, Iron Man, Surf’s Up, Seabiscuit, The Fisher King, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Blown Away, Fearless, The Big Lebowski, Against All Odds, The Vanishing, Texasville, The Morning After, The Last American Hero and Heart of the West. Audiences can see him in the current war comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Past honorees of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Liam Neeson, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta and James Stewart.

Jeremy Renner received the Breakthrough Actor Performance Award presented by Shohreh Aghdashloo

Shohreh Aghdashloo & Jeremy Renner
(Photos by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

Jeremy Renner stars in The Hurt Locker, the critically acclaimed film directed by Kathryn Bigelow that takes place in Baghdad and depicts a team of bomb disposal experts. For his role, Renner was nominated as Best Actor at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. He has since received the National Board of Review Breakthrough Performance by an Actor, Breakthrough Actor Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, the Spotlight Award at the Savannah Film Festival and was nominated at the Gotham Awards as Breakthrough Actor and won Best Ensemble Performance.

The role that put Renner on the map and earned his first Independent Spirit Award nomination was that of Jeffrey Dahmer in the 2002 indie hit Dahmer. In 2007, Renner was seen in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 28 Weeks Later and Take. In 2005, he starred in the acclaimed independent film 12 and Holding and Neo Ned, where he was awarded Best Actor at the 11th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival. His other credits include North Country, A Little Trip to Heaven, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Lords of Dogtowm, Love Comes to the Executioner and S.W.A.T.

Past PSIFF recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman and Freida Pinto.

Mariah Carey received the Breakthrough Actress Performance Award presented by Precious director Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels & Mariah Carey
(Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

In her critically acclaimed role as Ms. Weiss in Lionsgate’s Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire, Carey completely transformed herself from a glamorous music icon to a forthright social worker.

(see champagne-fueled "loopy" acceptance speech video clip below)

Singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer Mariah Carey has received five Grammy® Awards and thirty-three nominations. Carey began her acting career with a small role in the 1999 romantic comedy The Bachelor and followed with the lead in the semi-autobiographical Glitter, with Terrence Howard. She received rave reviews for her performance in the independent film Wisegirls, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Carey previously teamed with producer/director Lee Daniels for the film Tennessee, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

Uniquely melding R&B, soul, gospel, and hip hop influences, Carey has recorded the most U.S. number-one singles for a solo artist (18, surpassing Elvis Presley), and is in second place among artists with the most singles in the rock era. She has been recognized as Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade,” and the “Best-Selling Female Pop Artist of the Millennium” at the 2000 World Music Awards.

Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire is a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome. Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. Precious was in Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Un Certain Regard, and won three awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival: the Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize in Acting, honoring Mo’Nique. The film was also the centerpiece of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival Gala Presentation where it received the non-juried event’s top honor, the 2009 Cadillac People’s Choice Award. Precious is the only film ever to receive the Audience awards at both Sundance and Toronto.

Mariah Carey stole the awards show with her "loopy" acceptance speech. Chatting backstage at the People's Choice Awards, Mariah Carey took the opportunity to joke about "that" Speech (PSIFF Awards Night's champagne-fueled speech).

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman and Freida Pinto.

Marion Cotillard received the Desert Palm Achievement Award – Actress presented by Nine director Rob Marshall

Marion Cotillard
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF

For her Oscar® winning role as Edith Piaf, the Festival presented her with the Breakthrough Performance Award in 2008. Cotillard stars in Rob Marshall's Nine, currently screening in theatres. Originally created for the stage, the Tony® award winning Nine is a musical adaptation of Federico Fellini's 8 ½. Cotillard portrays the wife, Louisa,' to Daniel Day-Lewis' Guido,' a film director, who must find harmony in his relationships with the many women in his life, including his wife, mistress, muse, agent and mother.

Also in December, Cotillard will be seen in the French production of Karim Dridi's Le Dernier Vol (The Last Flight), based on the epistolary novel The Last Flight of the Lancaster. This summer, Cotillard was seen in Michael Mann's crime drama Public Enemies, depicting the takedown of notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during the 1930s.

In 2008, Cotillard became the second French actress to ever win an Oscar®, and the first to win an acting award for a performance in the French language in the film La Vie En Rose. For her role, Cotillard also received a Best Actress BAFTA, Golden Globe and César Award as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination. In 2005, Cotillard received a César Award for her supporting performance in A Very Long Engagement opposite Audrey Tautou. Cotillard’s credits include the successful French Taxi film series; Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, opposite Russell Crowe; Tim Burton’s Big Fish opposite Ewan McGregor’ Jeux d’enfants (Love Me If You Dare) opposite Guillame Canet; and the French film, Innocence. She recently completed production on Chris Nolan’s Inception and Guillame Canet’s Les Petits Mouchoirs (Significant Others).

Past recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award include Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet.

Morgan Freeman received the Career Achievement Award – Actor presented by Clint Eastwood

Morgan Freeman & Clint Eastwood
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF

Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman was honored with the Career Achievement Award for his large and extraordinary body of work and his many memorable performances throughout the years, including his role as Nelson Mandela in Invictus. The award was presented by Invictus Director/Producer Clint Eastwood.

Invictus tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country.

Morgan Freeman won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, for which he also won a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and received a Golden Globe nomination. Freeman has been honored with three additional Oscar® nominations - the first for his chilling performance as a homicidal pimp in the 1987 drama Street Smart, which also brought him L.A., New York and National Society of Film Critics Awards, and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as his first Golden Globe Award nomination. He earned his second Oscar® nomination and won Golden Globe and National Board of Review Awards for Best Actor for 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy, recreating his award-winning off-Broadway role. He gained his third Oscar® nomination for his performance in Frank Darabont’s 1994 drama The Shawshank Redemption, which also brought Freeman Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.

His more recent film work includes starring roles in Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters The Dark Knight and Batman Begins; Rob Reiner’s The Bucket List, opposite Jack Nicholson; Robert Benton’s Feast of Love; Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone; Lasse Hallström’s An Unfinished Life, with Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez; the Jet Li actioner Unleashed, written by Luc Besson; and the comedy Bruce Almighty and its sequel, Evan Almighty. He also lent his distinctive voice to Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and the Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins. Freeman’s other film credits include Lucky Number Slevin, The Sum of All Fears, High Crimes, Along Came a Spider, Nurse Betty, Deep Impact Hard Rain, Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, Kiss the Girls, Se7en, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, Glory, Lean on Me, Clean and Sober, Marie, Teachers, Harry & Son and Brubaker.

Quentin Tarantino received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award presented by Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody & Quentin Tarantino
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF

Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds is set in the first year of the German occupation of France, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish American soldiers to perform swift, shocking acts of retribution. Later known to their enemy as “the basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquis, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own. The film is nominated for four Golden Globe Awards including Best Director, ten Critics Choice Awards including Best Director and three SAG Awards including Best Ensemble Cast.

Tarantino made a bold debut with Reservoir Dogs, a cops and robbers tale that Tarantino wrote, directed and produced on a shoe-string budget. Following the film’s success, the screenplays that Tarantino wrote during his tenure as a video store clerk became hot properties including True Romance and From Dusk Till Dawn. Tarantino co-wrote, directed and starred in Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme D’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, numerous critics’ awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Pulp Fiction was nominated for seven Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director, and Tarantino received an Academy Award® for Best Screenplay. Tarantino also wrote and directed Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2.

Most recently he collaborated with Robert Rodriquez on Grindhouse, which presented two original, complete films as a double feature. He also collaborated with Rodriguez as a special guest director on the thriller Sin City. Tarantino also joined Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell by directing, writing and executive producing a segment of the omnibus feature Four Rooms. Tarantino served as an executive producer on Eli Roth’s Hostel, produced first-time director Katrina Bronson’s Daltry Calhoun, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn and Roger Avary’s Killing Zoe. The longtime fan of Asian cinema presented Yuen Wo Ping’s Iron Monkey and Zhang Yimou’s Hero.

Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include Todd Field, Baz Luhrmann, M. Night Shyamalan, Gus Van Sant and Joe Wright.

T Bone Burnett received the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing presented by Sean Penn

Sean Penn & T Bone Burnett
(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for PSIFF)

T Bone Burnett produced the critically acclaimed film Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall, which will be released by Fox Searchlight on December 16. He also composed the film’s score with collaborator Stephen Burton and co-wrote many of its original songs, including “The Weary Kind,” which is performed numerous times in the film and is featured in its trailer.

Burnett’s 40 years of experience in music and entertainment have earned him an unparalleled reputation. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004, along with Elvis Costello, in the category of Best Original Song for “The Scarlet Tide” from the film Cold Mountain. For his work on that film, Burnett earned BAFTA’s Anthony Asquith Award. His first major foray into film was his 1999 collaboration with the Coen Brothers on The Big Lebowski, for which he served as “musical archivist.” He has since served as executive music producer, and created hit soundtracks for numerous films including O Brother Where Art Thou, Across The Universe, Walk The Line (for which he also composed the score) and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Past PSIFF recipients of the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing include Alexandre Desplat, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, Phillip Glass, Howard Shore and Randy Newman.


Other celebrity guests who walked the red carpet include Jasper Cole (The Forgotten), Denise DuBarry Hay (Producer, Shoot the Hero), Eva La Rue (CSI: Miami), Samantha Lockwood (Festival Film Shoot the Hero), David Loren (Festival Film Is It Just Me?), Takeshi Kudo (Festival Film Shoot the Hero), Taylor Negron (Festival Film Shoot the Hero), Steve Pougnet (City of Palm Springs Mayor) Christian Sesma (Director, Shoot the Hero), Jamey Sheridan (Festival Film Handsome Harry), Olivier Stip (Senior Vice President of Cartier North America), Jerry Weintraub (Ocean’s 11) and many others

Following the ceremony an after party was held at the Parker Palm Springs attended by celebrity guests Shohreh Aghdashloo, T Bone Burnett, Lee Daniels, Anna Kendrick, Eva La Rue, Rob Marshall, Sean Penn, Ivan Reitman, Jeremy Renner, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino.

Anna Kendrick and Shoreh Aghdashloo wore Cartier jewelry to the event.

·Platinum & Diamond Cuff Bracelet- retail value = $297,000
·White Gold & Diamond Earrings- retail value= $42,000
·White Gold & Diamond Two Flower Orchid Ring- retail value= $24,100

For additional information on the Festival visit PSIFF.

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