Far more respected than the Hollywood Fest--and effective in the awards race---in the L.A. area are the long-established Palm Springs and Santa Barbara Fests, which are both lining up their own battery of awards contenders. The Palm Springs Awards Gala on January 8 will award the Breakthrough Performance Award to Brit Carey Mulligan for both Never Let Me Go and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Mulligan follows in the footsteps of past recipients Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Freida Pinto, Jeremy Renner and Mariah Carey.
Since her Oscar nomination for her breakout role in Lone Scherfig's An Education, Mulligan has worked consistently with the industry's best directors and actors. She is currently filming with Ryan Gosling and Bryan Cranston in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive and is set to play the role made famous by Audrey Hepburn--Eliza Doolittle--in a 2012 adaptation of My Fair Lady. The Palm Springs Intetnational Film Festival runs January 6-17.
Expect a string of further announcements from both fests.
Boyle and Franco Part One:
The onstage TIFF Q & A, including Aron Ralston:
[Sophia Savage contributed to this report.]