Da­mon cam­paigns for Os­car for di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott at Palm Springs film fes­ti­val

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY RYAN PEAR­SON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Matt Da­mon launched a bold new phase of Os­car cam­paign­ing for his “The Mar­tian” di­rec­tor on Satur­day, telling a crowd that Ri­d­ley Scott has “given more than enough to cin­ema” over his ca­reer to de­serve an Acad­emy Award.

Da­mon spoke at the open­ing night gala for the Palm Springs In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, a non-tele­vised black-tie din­ner at the desert city’s con­ven­tion cen­tre. It’s be­come a well-at­tended stop on the busy Hol­ly­wood awards cir­cuit due to its tim­ing dur­ing the Os­car nom­i­na­tions vot­ing pe­riod and eight days be­fore the Golden Globe Awards. Hon­orees Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett, Chris­tian Bale and Michael Fass­ben­der also took the stage.

Da­mon said he was shocked to dis­cover that the 78-year-old di­rec­tor of “Blade Run­ner” and “Alien” had never won an Os­car de­spite three nom­i­na­tions and his helm­ing of 2001 best pic­ture win­ner “Gla­di­a­tor.”

“He’s just a mas­ter di­rec­tor. There are a hand­ful of them on planet Earth. But he is one of them,” Da­mon said. “Awards — what­ever, who gives a (ex­ple­tive). I mean, ex­cept for this one. But ... I hope this is his year. I don’t know if you’re sup­posed to say that out loud. But ... when I did ‘The De­parted,’ we said it out loud a lot about Marty (Scors­ese) and it panned out.”

Satur­day’s loose and some­times coarse cer­e­mony saw Depp prais­ing his wife, ac­tress Am­ber Heard, “for putting up with me” and Bale get­ting in a dig at the 2,000-plus at­ten­dees, which in­cluded so­cialites who some­times chat­ted away at din­ner ta­bles dur­ing ac­cep­tance speeches.

“I’ve never been at a film fes­ti­val that ig­nores the speak­ers so much as this film fes­ti­val,” said Bale, on stage with his “The Big Short” co-stars Steve Carell, Jeremy Strong and Finn Wit­trock.

Cate Blanchett, be­ing lauded for her per­for­mance in “Carol,” was more mag­nan­i­mous.

She thanked the fes­ti­val, which runs through Jan. 11, “for re­mind­ing us — all of us hon­oured tonight — that if we’re not nom­i­nated for any other award not to feel like losers. We had a mo­ment of glory.”

The fes­ti­val an­nounced its awards ahead of time, min­i­miz­ing anx­i­ety for ac­tors and al­low­ing plenty of time for in­for­mal re­unions. Depp hugged his “Find­ing Nev­er­land” co-star Kate Winslet on the red car­pet be­fore the show. Da­mon walked back­stage in con­ver­sa­tion with Blanchett. The two shared the screen in “The Tal­ented Mr. Ri­p­ley” and “The Mon­u­ments Men.”

AP PHOTO

Ri­d­ley Scott, left, and Matt Da­mon, win­ner of the Chair­man’s award, pose back­stage at the 27th an­nual Palm Springs In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val Awards Gala on Satur­day, Jan. 2, in Palm Springs, Calif

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