PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Talk of sexual misconduct in Hollywood dominated the conversation on the red carpet Tuesday at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala.
Reporters and celebrities discussed the revelations that have snowballed in Hollywood since allegations surfaced last fall against Harvey Weinstein, especially the Time’s Up initiative announced Monday by 300 Hollywood women to combat sexual harassment in all workplaces, from movie studios to farm fields.
The initiative calls for attendees to wear black to Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, and actress Holly Hunter said she plans to support it.
"I'm all for solidarity," she said while entering the convention center in a formal white dress. "It packs a punch that nothing else does. When people gather and stand together, it has an impact that is unrepeatable in any other way. And I think the Time's Up initiative is beautiful — beautiful and it should have happened yesterday. But here we are. So this is the right time and I'm planning on joining those ranks."
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival lineup for April also was announced Tuesday afternoon, and some of the selections proved fodder for conversation on the carpet.
Singer Mary J. Blige, who received the breakthrough performance actress award for Mudbound, called this year's schedule "an amazing lineup, a once-in-a-lifetime right there." She once performed at Coachella as a guest with Disclosure.
"Eminem is one of the greats," added rapper-turned-actor Common. "Beyoncé is one of the greatest performers of all time. When you have all-time greats, it's always good. I need to come up to Coachella. I need to be performing there soon."
Festival chairman Harold Matzner said before the gala he hoped his honorees would focus their speeches on film, but he offered one of the more political statements after Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman, presented her star Gal Gadot with the rising star actress award.
Matzner noted that Jenkins had become the highest-paid female director of all time and Gadot the highest-grossing actress of 2017. “The incredible popularity of the film reflects the fact that the world is ready for more powerful women and the end of unequal pay, sexual misconduct and a stubborn glass ceiling," he said. "Gal Gadot has acknowledged this as an historic moment. I think Gal is right, an evolution is taking place for women."
Chairman’s award recipient Jessica Chastain, star of Molly’s Game, also talked in the last awards presentation of the night about how difficult 2017 was "for all of us," but how much promise the future holds.
“Major change is coming, and change is good." she said. "Change is needed. We're all in this together.
"Each one of us is diminished by a flawed system, and through our joint efforts, we will make things better. We must make things better. We must be better, and we will.”
Inside the gala, perhaps the funniest segment of the night came when Kumail Nanjiani, writer and star of The Big Sick, presented the career achievement award to his co-star Holly Hunter and called that his career achievement.
Nanjiani said he was terrified when he learned Hunter had agreed to make his movie because “she’s literally the Holly Hunter of acting.” But he went from intimidated to bewildered when she e-mailed him that she couldn’t make a rehearsal one day because she was taking her cat in for acupuncture.
“My mind was filled with questions,” he said. “What does a cat get from acupuncture? Why does a cat need acupuncture? And if a cat does need acupuncture, how does it convey that to its owner? I got this image in my head of ... her cat meowing and Holly going ‘What is it, Buttons? Your back hurts? You need acupuncture?’ ”
When Hunter told him she was just messing with him, he felt a “tremendous wave of relief,” he said. “That was the moment I knew we were going to be OK.”
Contributing: Xochitl Pena