Wonder Woman, the red carpet and more – Orange County Register

Wonder Woman, the red carpet and more – Orange County Register


There are few places where Winston Churchill and Wonder Woman share a red carpet.

But Gary Oldman and Gal Gadot, who portrayed the historical figure and the superheroine on screen, were among the celebrities, hundreds of screaming fans and throng of international press at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festivals Awards Gala to usher in Hollywood’s awards season on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Stars already getting big Oscar buzz — including Willem Dafoe, Timothée Chalamet, Jessica Chastain and Saoirse Ronan — were honored at the Palm Springs Convention Center for the soiree that kicks off the annual festival, which will screen more than 180 films before wrapping up Jan. 15.

On the red carpet Tuesday night, many of the stars talked about why their films were resonating with audiences now.

Oldman, who spent nine months preparing for his role of World War II-era British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” looked to the current political climate.

“I think people like to be reminded of what great oratory and what great leadership and statesmanship once looked like,” Oldman said. “Maybe we’re a little lacking in the world with that right now.”

The stars also fielded questions about the reaction to the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked Hollywood, from whether they would wear colorful dresses to the Golden Globes on Sunday to addressing how the industry will react and adapt.

“Gal Gadot has acknowledged this as a historic moment,” festival chairman Harold Matzner said in his speech inside the gala, praising Gadot and “Wonder Woman” writer and director Patty Jenkins as he talked about it being a moment of evolution for women in the industry.

“Gal and Patty have a sequel coming that will certainly support that evolution,” he said.

The roots of the festival go deeper than Palm Springs’ recent hipster Renaissance. It was launched by then-Mayor Sonny Bono in 1990, and in the years since has been growing in popularity, not only with A-list celebrities but also with moviegoers. The festival now averages more than 135,000 attendees.

“I think they do a whale of a job to make sure it’s fun for everybody,” gala host and television personality Mary Hart said on the red carpet. “The production is so beautiful, you walk in and your jaw drops because the room is breathtaking.”

And it’s not just the gala netting big stars. The two-week festival has a number of special presentations lined up with actors, directors and others who have garnered awards buzz. Among them are a screening of “Phantom Thread” with director Paul Thomas Anderson on Friday, Jan. 5, and a screening of Germany’s official Oscar entry, “In the Fade,” with director Fatih Akin and actress Diane Kruger on Monday, Jan. 8.

Lori Davidson, 54, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, had missed the festival on a previous visit and made it a priority on this trip.

She planned to catch a few of the films while she was in town, and was happy to trade in below-zero temperatures for a sunny day of star gazing as a fan in the crowd outside the gala Tuesday.

“I’m really glad to be in shorts,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one attracted by the sunny skies.



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