AceShowbiz - This year's awards season kicked off with the Palm Springs Film Festival over the weekend. On Saturday, January 3, numerous Oscar hopefuls attended the gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center. "The Imitation Game" cast members including %cBenedict Cumberbatch%, %cAllen Leech%, %cAlex Lawther% and %cMatthew Beard% were present alongside director Morten Tyldum. Other stars such as %cRobert Downey Jr.%, %cBrad Pitt%, %cEddie Redmayne%, %cRosamund Pike%, %cJulianne Moore%, %cReese Witherspoon% and %cDavid Oyelowo% were also in attendance.
Pike was honored with a Breakthrough Performance by an Actress award for her performance in "Gone Girl" that night and was introduced by her co-stars %cCarrie Coon% and %cKim Dickens%. Pitt, meanwhile, showed up onstage to introduce Oyelowo who won a Breakthrough Performance by an Actor award for his role as Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma".
%cAngelina Jolie%'s husband additionally led audience to a sing-along on how to pronounce the actor's name. "How the hell do you pronounce his name? It's OK. It's all right. I've been there. I'm here to help," he joked. In response to the chant, Oyelowo said in his speech, "You know you have really broken through when Brad Pitt sings your name!"
According to L.A. Times, the event continued with %cJ.K. Simmons% receiving the Spotlight Award for "Whiplash". Next, Robert Downey Jr. presented the Icon Award to %cRobert Duvall% who is also his co-star in "The Judge". "Robert Duvall can do anything and he's far from done," the Iron Man depicter said, before adding, "This is generally where people stand up," prompting audience to give a standing ovation.
Next, %cSteve Carell% appeared onstage and presented the Desert Palm Achievement Award to Moore who showed impressive performance in Alzheimer's drama "Still Alice". "Boyhood" director Richard Linklater was honored with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, presented by Shirley MacLaine.
Later, Moore took the stage again to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award to the newly-married Redmayne for his performance as Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything". The British star, who exchanged vows with Hannah Bagshawe on December 15, thanked "my life partner and, as of two weeks ago, my wife. It's kind of weird saying that - but it's a good weird."
Keaton was also one of the presenters that night, introducing "Birdman" helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who received Director Award. Director Morten Tyldum then presented his "Imitation Game" cast with Ensemble Award. Cumberbatch, who brought his fiancee Sophie Hunter to the event, spoke on behalf of the cast and joked that "%cKeira Knightley% thought this takes place in Palm Beach" before delivering his speech about playing war hero and gay icon Alan Turing.
The event concluded with Witherspoon receiving the Chairman's Award for her role in "Wild", presented by her co-star %cLaura Dern%. "I want to be part of any party Reese Witherspoon is throwing," Dern quipped.
Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike at the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. pic.twitter.com/QfCfxIUJCW— Felicity Jones IT (@FelicityJonesIT) January 4, 2015