Following the opening of the 19th annual Palm Springs Film Festival on January 4, the teen pregnancy drama "Juno" was honored with Chairman's Vanguard Award in the black tie awards gala for the festival held the following day (Jan 05) at the Palm Springs Convention Center, California. In the gala, the film's director Jason Reitman, writer Diablo Cody and its cast, including Ellen Page and Jason Bateman, was presented with the award by Drew Barrymore. It was given the honor since the PSIFF believes the movie is one of the most innovative films.
Earlier, Festival Chairman Earl Greenburg revealed the reason stating, "After screening Juno, I knew the Festival had to honor this film with the Vanguard Award. Jason Reitman's film is one of the most innovative from this year and we are very excited to recognize him along with the writer Diablo Cody and the cast members with this achievement." Further, he added "Currently we expect cast members Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons to attend the Festival to accept the award along with Reitman and Diablo."
Meanwhile, other awards were also presented on the occasion attended by many Hollywood A-listers, such as John Travolta, Sean Penn, Helen Hunt, Stockard Channing, Allison Janney, Bruce Willis, Jamie Foxx and Laura Linney. On the event hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart, Nikki Blonsky and Emile Hirsch were honored as the Rising Star Award winners, while the cast of Blonsky's breakthrough film "Hairspray" garnered 2008 Ensemble Cast Award. Apart from that, Daniel Day-Lewis and Halle Berry received Desert Palm Achievement Awards, and Marion Cotillard got the Breakthrough Performance Award.
Moreover, Sean Penn and Jerry Weintraub were named the Director of the Year Award and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation Patron of the Arts Award respectively. Additionally, the Sonny Bono Visionary Award were presented to Joe Wright, while James Newton Howard was given the Frederick Loewe Achievement Award for Film Composing.
The 2008 Palm Springs Film Festival opened with Helen Hunt's directorial debut "And Then She Found Me" last Friday. It will last for ten days until January 14, 2008. The closing movie will be "Priceless" that will be viewed on Sunday, January 13 on 5:00 P.M. at Palm Springs High School.