Hollywood Stars Crack Jokes At Desert Awards
Before the Oscar nerves reach breaking point, Hollywood stars have shown their lighter sides at one of the first events of the awards season.
Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks were among the actors cracking jokes at the opening of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The event is celebrating its 25th year, but has only recently become a star-studded stop on the awards circuit.
Bullock, who is also nominated for Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Golden Globe awards for her performance as an astronaut in Gravity, delighted the crowd of more than 2,000 by reading aloud 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.
The winners were announced well in advance and the ceremony was not televised, lessening the pressure and allowing for self-effacing, sometimes lengthy acceptance speeches.
Streep, who stars alongside Roberts in August: Osage County and is also up for Globe and SAG honours, 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.
Jabbing fists toward the crowd, the 64-year-old said: "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."
There was self-congratulation all around at the quality of awards season films, from 12 Years A Slave, whose British director Steve McQueen was honoured, to American Hustle, whose cast received an ensemble award.
Several actors noted that they had been catching up on colleagues' movies with DVD viewings and visits to the cinema.
"We put out a damn good product," said Matthew McConaughey.
"We've got challenging films. We've got stories of isolation, survival, history, conmen, scams. A lot of these films, they walk that tightrope. They have that combination of two very hard things to have - import and entertainment."
The stars will reunite at the Golden Globes next weekend in Beverly Hills and the SAG Awards the following weekend.
"To be invited to the Palm Springs International Film Festival is an honour and a delight beyond words and sometimes beyond reasoning," Hanks said.
"It means without a doubt that the holidays have come to an end and for a few lucky people the celebrity mule train is just beginning."
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