By Ryan Pearson, AP
PALM SPRINGS, California — Sandra Bullock shared the painful results of Googling herself, Meryl Streep shadowboxed on-stage, and Tom Hanks braced for awards season’s “celebrity mule train” at the year’s first glitzy Hollywood gala.
Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper were among the stars who cracked jokes and praised one another Saturday night at the opening of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a desert warm-up of sorts for more closely watched industry events in coming months.
Honors were announced well in advance and the ceremony wasn’t televised, lessening pressure on winners and allowing for self-effacing, sometimes lengthy acceptance speeches. The festival is celebrating its 25th year but it’s only relatively recently become a star-studded stop on the awards circuit.
U2’s Bono spoke passionately about artist activism and the fight against AIDS. Bruce Dern reveled in industry praise for his “Nebraska” after a half-century career, saying: “A bunch of you seem to have gotten together and to have said, `Bruce Dern can play.”’ Presenters included Gary Oldman, Ewan McGregor, Idris Elba and Jane Fonda.
Bullock, also nominated for Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards for her performance as an astronaut in “Gravity,” delighted the crowd of over 2,000 by reading online comments about herself.
“Julia (Roberts), apparently you and I are in a dispute over George Clooney. We talked about this. It’s shared custody and we both are fine with it,” she joked.
McConaughey, honored for his lead role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” also proudly noted his movie “Mud” and small part in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Streep, who stars alongside Roberts in “August: Osage County” and is also up for Globe and SAG honors, was given the festival’s icon award.
“I don’t feel like an icon. Most of the days I feel like `I can’t,”’ she said. But, she allowed, jabbing fists toward the crowd, “I feel like I’m an example now in my dotage of the fact that you just can’t put those old gals out to pasture. We’ve got a lot of stuff still to say.”