Courtesy of: Kim Devore
Loads of locals are headed for the first major film festival of the year. It’s all part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The star-studded fling is now celebrating 25 years.
Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts is the recipient of this year’s Spotlight Awards for her performance in the recently released “August: Osage County.” “Julia is a consummate actress with a range as vast as her talent,” says Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Her ability to consistently give standout performances over the past 25 years is remarkable.”
The “Pretty Woman” is known for her memorable roles in favorite films like “Mystic Pizza,” “Steel Magnolias,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Runaway Bride,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “Eat Pray Love.” She earned an Oscar for her title role in “Erin Brockovich.”
Her legendary “August: Osage County” co-star, Meryl Streep, is this year’s Icon Award winner. The divine Ms. Meryl began collecting her slew of Academy Awards early with 1979’s “Kramer Vs. Kramer,” 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice” and 2011’s “The Iron Lady.”
The festival has an uncanny knack for likely Oscar contenders.
Others on the prestigious roster include “Gravity”’s Sandra Bullock, “Nebraska”’s Bruce Dern, “Dallas Buyers Club” star Matthew McConaughey. Longtime local Tom Hanks is also being lauded for “Captain Phillips” along with Steve McQueen, the man behind “12 Years a Slave.”
Malibu’s The Edge joins fellow music makers Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen and Bono for the festival’s Bono Visionary Award, which was named after Sonny Bono as in “Sonny and Cher,” not to be confused with the U2 singer who was one of the many honorees.
U2 was an unlikely but well-deserved choice, according to festival chairman Matzner. “We normally present the Sonny Bono Visionary Award to a director, but for the 25th anniversary we wanted to take the occasion to celebrate U2, a visionary group and the world’s premier rock band, for their unparalleled humanitarian work against extreme poverty, disease and social injustice.”
U2 was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for the song “Ordinary Love” from the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” The band also earned an Oscar nomination for the tune “The Hands That Built America” from Martin Scorsese’s 2002 drama, “Gangs of New York.”
Started by former pop star and Palm Springs mayor Sonny Bono, the event started out small and without a lot of fanfare. Today it has grown into one of the biggest international film festivals in the world.
The star spangled bash runs until Jan. 13.