Palm Springs Film Awards Ceremony Canceled Due to COVID Concerns

Palm Springs International Film Festival Placeholder
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

For the second consecutive year, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has canceled its star-studded, in-person awards gala amid rising concerns around COVID-19 and the omicron variant.

The annual awards were planned to be presented at a black-tie ceremony held at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Jan. 6, but the Palm Springs International Film Society announced the change of plan in a statement on Monday.

“We are taking this action due to the recent spike in COVID cases and out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of the honorees, patrons, and staff,” the statement read. “The Palm Springs Film Awards are one of the largest events in the film world with 2,500 guests and more than 1,000 staff in the room.”

“The Film Awards will partner with ‘Entertainment Tonight’ to celebrate this year’s honorees with details to follow,” the statement continued. “Those who purchased tickets for the Film Awards will be reimbursed. We hope to return to the Film Awards to an in-person event in 2023.”

The film society also noted that the screening portion Palm Springs Film Festival, which runs Jan. 7-17, will still take place and require proof of vaccination and masks in theaters. Details of COVID-19 safety protocols can be found at psfilmfest.org.

Considered a pre-cursor to the Academy Awards and one of the first major award shows of the new year, the festival’s 2022 awards honorees are Kristen Stewart (who earned the Spotlight Award, Actress for “Spencer”), Penélope Cruz (the International Star Award, Actress for “Parallel Mothers”), Jane Campion (Director of the Year, “The Power of the Dog”), Jessica Chastain (the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Jennifer Hudson (the Chairman’s Award, “Respect”), Andrew Garfield (the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor for “Tick, Tick … Boom!”), Lady Gaga (the Icon Award, “House of Gucci”) and Nicole Kidman (the Career Achievement Award,” Being the Ricardos”). The Vanguard Award goes to Sir Kenneth Branagh and the cast of “Belfast” (Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Jude Hill), while the cast of “King Richard” (Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal and Tony Goldwyn) nabbed the Ensemble Performance Award.

This marks the second consecutive year the Palm Springs Film Awards gala has been canceled. For 2021, the film festival nominally acknowledged 11 honorees — Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”), Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) and the film “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” All 11 awardees went on to receive Academy Award nominations, with Hopkins, Kaluuya and Zhao nabbing Oscar trophies.

In addition, Variety will not be hosting its annual “10 Directors to Watch” and Creative Impact Awards brunch in person. Initially planned for Jan. 7 at the Parker Palm Springs, honorees for that event include Javier Bardem (the Creative Impact in Acting award winner) and Asghar Farhadi (Creative Impact in Directing award).

Variety‘s 10 Directors to Watch for 2022 are Aitch Alberto (“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”), Mariama Diallo (“Master”), Audrey Diwan (“Happening”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”), Tatiana Huezo (“Prayers for the Stolen”), Nikyatu Jusu (“Nanny”), Megan Park (“The Fallout”), Cooper Raiff (“Cha Cha Real Smooth”), Goran Stolevski (“You Won’t Be Alone”) and Krystin Ver Linden (“Alice”).