THE BLOG
01/09/2013 03:09 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2013

Hollywood Awards Season Kicks Off with the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala (AUDIO)

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Nicholas Snow on the red carpet at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala.

If you're anxious to know what Hollywood's biggest stars and directors are going to say in their acceptance speeches this awards season, look no further than my official SnowbizNow online radio coverage of the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Awards Gala which is garnering worldwide attention following the January 5 event. Hosted by Mary Hart, the gala-honored Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Bradley Cooper, Helen Hunt, Helen Mirren, Mychael Danna, Naomi Watts, Richard Gere, Robert Zemeckis, Sally Field and Tom Hooper.

Among my favorite moments on the red carpet: reminiscing with Ang Lee about a previous conversation we had at the Hollywood Premiere of Brokeback Mountain all those years ago; and speaking with Senator Barbara Boxer about marriage equality, averting the fiscal cliff and the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. Among the most appreciated moments of the evening were off-teleprompter political statements by honoree Richard Gere. "You don't say no to the queen," said Tom Hooper when presenting the International Star Award to Dame Helen Mirren, who proceeded to teach the 2,000 or so mostly-Americans gathered at the Palm Springs Convention Center how to pronounce Les Misérables.

The morning following the gala, PSIFF organizers announced:

The Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala honors individuals in the entertainment industry with several prestigious awards for acting, directing, achievement in film scoring and life achievement. The following awards were presented at this year's Awards Gala:

Argo (Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston) received the Ensemble Performance Award presented by Tony Mendez.

Bradley Cooper received the Desert Palm Achievement Award Actor for Silver Linings Playbook presented by the film's director David O. Russell.

Helen Hunt received the Spotlight Award for The Sessions presented by her co-star John Hawkes.

Helen Mirren received the International Star Award for Hitchcock presented by Tom Hooper, who directed her in Elizabeth I.

Mychael Danna received the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing for Life of Pi presented Ang Lee.

Naomi Watts received the Desert Palm Achievement Award Actress for The Impossible presented by her co-star in the film Tom Holland.

Richard Gere received the Chairman's Award for Arbitrage presented by his The Cotton Club, Nights in Rodanthe and Unfaithful co-star Diane Lane.

Robert Zemeckis received the Director of the Year Award for Flight presented by Tom Hanks who he directed in Castaway, Forrest Gump, and Polar Express.

Sally Field (Lincoln) received the Career Achievement Award presented by her The Amazing Spider-Man co-star Martin Sheen.

Tom Hooper received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award for Les Misérables presented by the film's co-star Eddie Redmayne.

Additional guests who attended the event: Senator Barbara Boxer, Dale and Leslie Chihuly, Taylor Hackford, Mary Bono Mack, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, Bill Pullman (The Fruit Hunters, 1600 Penn) along with Festival representatives Harold Matzner (Festival Chairman), Darryl Macdonald (Festival Director) and Helen du Toit (Artistic Director).

The Palm Springs International Film Festival takes place January 3-14,2013. For additional information on the Festival visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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