Take a Sneak Peek Inside the 2017 PSIFF Opening Night Gala

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Cate Blanchett accepts the Desert Palm Achievement Award onstage at the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Festival Awards Gala
Cate Blanchett accepts the Desert Palm Achievement Award onstage at the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Festival Awards Gala

Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for PSIFF

It’s a Hollywood rule that, just two days into the New Year, holiday revelry is over and a serious bid for Oscar glory begins at the first event of awards season: The 2017 PSIFF (Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards) gala. The black-tie affair—to be held on January 2—celebrates the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of, and behind, the camera. Stars who have been honored in recent history include Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, David O. Russell and Meryl Streep. Honorees will be presented with either the John Kennedy ‘The Entertainer’ statue or a Chihuly glass sculpture. In the past four years, 40 of the 44 honorees have been nominated for the Academy Awards. But not only is the event attended by the biggest and brightest talents in Hollywood, it also kicks off one of the largest film festivals in North America. In 2016, it welcomed 135,000 attendees for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries, and this year’s fest—which runs from January 2 to 16 and—is expected to top that. Here, we share a look at what to expect at the glamorous 2017 gala.

Amy Adams attends the 2011 PSIFF gala
Amy Adams attends the 2011 PSIFF gala

Photo Credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

THE HONOREES

ς Casey Affleck will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. Past recipients include Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Johnny Depp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne.

ς La La Land will receive the Vanguard Award, which is presented to a film’s cast and director. Cast members Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and director/writer Damien Chazelle are expected to attend. 

ς Nicole Kidman will receive the International Star Award for her performance in Lion. Past honorees include Javier Bardem, Helen Mirren and Saoirse Ronan. The Australian actress previously received the Chairman’s Award in 2005.

ς Natalie Portman will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for her performance in Jackie. She previously received the award in 2011 for her performance in Black Swan, where she went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Past recipients include Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry.

ς Tom Hanks will receive the Icon Award for his performance in Sully. Past recipients include Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall and Meryl Streep. In 2014, Hanks also received the Chairman’s Award.

ς Ruth Negga will receive the Rising Star Award her performance in Loving. Past recipients include Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Dakota Fanning and Terrence Howard.

ς Amy Adams will receive the Chairman’s Award for her performance in Arrival. She previously received the Spotlight Award in 2009 for her performance in Doubt, going on to receive an Academy Award nomination. 

ς Hidden Figures will receive the Ensemble Performance Award. Past winners have included films such as Argo, American Hustle, Babel, The Big Short, The Imitation Game and The Social Network.

ς Annette Bening will receive the festival’s Career Achievement Award. Past recipients include Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Redgrave.

ς Andrew Garfield will receive the Spotlight Award for his work in Hacksaw Ridge. Previous recipients include Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Julia Roberts and Rooney Mara.

ς  Mahershala Ali will be honored with the Breakthrough Performance Award for his role in Moonlight. Past winners include Brie Larson, Marion Cotillard, David Oyelowo, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Hudson.

The plating at the 2016 PSIFF gala
The plating at the 2016 PSIFF gala

Photo Credit: Getty Images for the PSIFF

THE EATS

The 2017 PSIFF Awards Gala is a three-course affair, which includes an exciting, movie-themed dessert.

Salad—Chopped Vegetable Salad

Diced green beans, jicama, celery, cucumber, chayote squash, red and green grapes, dried cranberries, feta cheese, teardrop tomatoes, papaya, Israeli couscous and juniper berry tarragon vinaigrette

Entrée—Sherry Demi Short Ribs Forestiere

Boneless beef short ribs with sherry demi-glace, served with Dauphinoise potatoes, butternut squash, asparagus and zucchini-rolled roasted pepper

Dessert—At the Movies

Vanilla bean panna cotta over crushed sugar cookie, topped with crunchy Milk Dud chocolate mousse, caramel corn and movie candies

Beautiful bouquets dot the tables at the PSIFF
Beautiful bouquets dot the tables at the PSIFF

Photo Credit: Getty Images for PSIFF

THE FLOWERS

Table centerpieces are 1,000 Lord Rothschild’s purple Vanda

orchids, flown in special from Holland for the event. “The flowers are absolutely spectacular,” says Shari Kelley, the event producer. “They’re like the Rolls-Royce of orchids.”   

THE DESIGN

There will be 2,400 crystals and four-inch high, lavender-colored Buddhas―all alit―as the focal point of each table, providing a unique takeaway for guests that has become an annual tradition of the event. It’s also a nod to Jim Houston, a vice-chair of the festival, who owns one of the largest hand-carved jade Buddhas in the world.

Shaken, not stirred
Shaken, not stirred

Photo Credit: Getty Images for PSIFF

THE COCKTAILS

Custom cocktails will be served from two impressive ice luges, including the Citroen Cosmopolitan: Ketel One Citroen flavored vodka and cranberry juice, which will be served straight up with a lemon twist.

On the scene at the 27th annual PSIFF
On the scene at the 27th annual PSIFF

Photo Credit: Getty Images for PSIFF

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