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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Mariah Carey lived up to her sometimes loopy reputation at the Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala as the teetering diva gave a long, rambling acceptance speech after being named Breakthrough Actress for her performance in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
Carey, in a skin-tight, black-beaded full-length Herve Leger gown, was escorted onto the stage Tuesday night, and at the podium, greeted her presenter and "Precious" director Lee Daniels with a little dance and a big hug.
Carey hesitated for a few seconds, looked to the ceiling, sighed and said, "Please forgive me, because I'm a little bit, um ..." An audience member finished the sentence for her with an obscenity, to which Carey replied, "Yeah!" adding a long, hearty laugh.
"Oooooooh, my goodness!" she bellowed.
For the next few minutes, Carey rambled on about first reading "Push," about meeting author Sapphire, and about meeting one of the night's other honorees, Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren, whom Daniels said turned down the "Precious" role.
In the midst of praising Daniels' work, Carey spontaneously burst into applause.
"Sorry," she told Daniels. "Sometimes I get a little ..." Carey then stopped cold to snap her fingers, then added "... you know, difficult." And then she giggled again.
Carey went on to share a story about how Daniels told her to play the part, he needed her to listen to listen to her. She was trying to elaborate, and couldn't come up with the words. She motioned to her face and said, "What do you call it?" When Daniels said he told her to remove her makeup, she said, "You could take my makeup off and I don't look like that (expletive) from the thing," referring to her "Precious" character. "Oh, god," Daniels moaned, turning away from Carey.
A full minute before Carey and Daniels finally left the stage, the audience had begun to applaud them off. "I thank you all for all listening to my little spiel," Carey said, wearily, "and god bless you."
Seconds later, host Mary Hart did her best to bring the ceremony back to Earth. "Who says we don't have fun here?" Hart asked, with a huge smile. The evening's other winners included "Up in the Air" director Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air" actress Anna Kendrick, "Hurt Locker" actor Jeremy Renner and "Inglourious Basterds" director Quentin Tarantino. Mirren was honored with a Career Achievement Award.
Carey didn't return to the stage Tuesday night, but her presence was felt for the remainder of the night. Before handing out a music award to songwriter-producer T Bone Burnett, actor Sean Penn quipped, "Think anything's going to make YouTube tonight?"WATCH: