Stars shine at Palm Springs Fest gala

Shindig brings out constellation of kudos contenders

The Palm Springs Film Festival gala Saturday night staked its place in the midst of awards season with a cluster of stars feted Saturday at the city’s convention center.

Jake Gyllenhall, who presented Natalie Portman with the actress trophy, described the thesp’s assets, “She’s 5’1″ and a buck ten,” he started. Then getting into her perf in “The Black Swan,” he said the pregnant Portman would make a great mother, although her child would need “years of therapy after seeing ‘Black Swan.'”

The accolades flowed like wine as Amy Ryan described Ben Affleck as “our generation’ s Orson Welles, except with better abs.”

Affleck riffed on the name of his prize, the Chairman’s Award, saying he grew his beard for the occasion. “I have been trying to get my wife to call me the chairman, I think tonight might be my night.”

Robert Duvall, who was honored with a career achievement award, said, “You never get too old for things like this,” adding, “It’s not the end — I’ve got a few more things to do.”

Among other honorees : Javier Bardem, who was described by presenter Portman as “the magnificent Javier Bardem,” quipped, “International star means you don’t understand what I’m saying”; Diane Warren paid tribute to the late Ronnie Chasen, including a photo montage; Carey Mulligan, Colin Firth, David O. Russell, Danny Boyle, Jennifer Lawrence (who said, “I’ve got to pretend this is really cool but inside I’m jumping up and down because Oliver Stone gave me an award and this is my Saturday night”); and the cast of “The Social Network.”

An after-party followed at the Parker Palm Springs.

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