Hollywood’s biggest night had one of those only-in-Palm Springs intersections with the past on Sunday.
Gary Oldman became the first Palm Springs resident to win the Best Actor Academy Award since the late William Holden in 1953. And the woman who won Best Supporting Actress, Allison Janney, was the co-owner of Holden’s iconic Palm Springs house during the Great Recession less than 10 years ago.
Oldman and Janney also were honorees at the January Palm Springs International Film Festival, which was very well represented at the 90th annual Academy Awards.
Oldman, who announced he bought a Palm Springs house at the festival gala, won the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor, at that event for his performance as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
In his Oscar acceptance speech, Oldman may have unintentionally borrowed from Churchill’s famous 1940 speech – “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” – when he thanked Academy voters by saying, “I owe this and so much more to so many.”
Janney, who won the Spotlight Award, Actress, at the festival gala for her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s bitter and often cruel mother in “I, Tonya,” received a rousing laugh when she accepted her award by saying, “I did it all by myself!”
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Janney’s festival Spotlight Award counterpart, Sam Rockwell, also won the Best Supporting Actor gold statue for his performance as the bigoted deputy in “Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri.”
The biggest winner of the Academy Awards was the festival gala’s Vanguard Award winner, “The Shape of Water.” The Vanguard Award celebrates a film’s ensemble and “Shape of Water” co-writer-director-producer Guillermo del Toro took home the Best Director Oscar while he and producer J. Miles Dale accepted the award for Best Picture. Its composer, Alexandre Desplat, also won Best Score, and its production designers and set decorators won Best Production Design.
Writer-director Jordan Peele, who presented the Creative Impact in Acting Award to his star of “Get Out,” Daniel Kaluuya, at the Variety Brunch at the Parker Palm Springs the day after the festival gala, won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. He beat out del Toro and Kumail Nanjiani of “The Big Sick,” who was a presenter at the Awards Gala.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival has become known as the festival that presents the Best Foreign Language Oscar nominees, and this year, it presented all five nominees, including the winner in that category, “A Fantastic Woman.” The festival’s Best of Fest award from the international FIPRESCI critics organization went to “Félicité” of Senegal, but its Best Actress Award went to the transgender star of “A Fantastic Woman,” Daniela Vega. She became the first openly transgender presenter at the Oscars when she introduced Sufjan Stevens’s performance of “Mystery of Love,” from “Call Me By Your Name,” as a Best Song nominee.
“A Fantastic Woman” is currently playing at the Camelot Theatres in the Palm Springs Cultural Center.
The first-year Palm Springs International Animation Festival featured one Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature, “Loving Vincent,” telling the story of artist Vincent Van Gogh in hand-drawn frames in Van Gogh’s style, but it lost to the box office smash, “Coco.”
The Academy Awards production was co-produced by Jennifer Todd, whose mother owns the Town Center Drugs compound pharmacy in Palm Desert. It celebrated the 90-year history of the Academy Awards with appearances by several classic movie stars.
The first Academy Awards presented the Best Picture to “Wings,” co-starring long-time desert resident Buddy Rogers, and the first Best Actress Award went to Janet Gaynor, who lived in Desert Hot Springs.
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