Hollywood’s most dazzling stars wore their finest to walk the red carpet at the Palm Springs International Film Awards on Thursday night.
The carpet was full of actors from some of the buzziest films of 2023, including “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie.” Several were also receiving honors for their work, including Emma Stone for “Poor Things” and Danielle Brooks for “The Color Purple.”
Here’s what the stars told us before the start of the awards ceremony.
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ cast
Several cast members from Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” hit the red carpet to talk about the monumental epic. The film focuses on a series of murders of Osage members after oil was discovered on their tribal land — and the greedy men behind the crimes. It also follows the relationship between Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Osage member Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone). The cast received the Vanguard Award.
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Jillian Dion, who plays Mollie’s sister Minnie Kyle, said she and her costars were able to form a family on set, which was important to not only the storytelling portion of filming, but also everyone’s wellbeing.
“Especially being surrounded by such strong women was such an intrical part of this film,” Dion said. “The basis of an Indigenous culture is a feminist, sovereign, matriarchal society, so having that and having Marty let us live in that moment in and outside of filming was so important to accurate storytelling but also for our protection of our souls and spirits.”
Tantoo Cardinal, who plays Lizzie Q, the Kyle sisters’ mother, said being a part of the film was a “positive” experience, but she’s also looking forward to telling stories of her own in the future.
“We are resilient people and we can’t stop telling our stories. There’s so much in our stories that need to be heard,” Cardinal said. “If we can find resilience in that and power in how did we survive, those are the stories that I want to tell.”
Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo of ‘Poor Things’
Stone stars in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things,” a tale about a woman rediscovering womanhood through unconventional means. She received the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress.
The actress also produced the film, which she said — thankfully — didn’t feel like she had to put out fires on a daily basis. Instead, she said the various departments put so much thought into their crafts that she was able to put most of her energy into her acting.
“It was so set in stone and it felt like you could focus on the characters and the scenes and how they were all going to pan out,” Stone said. “It was really particularly incredible.”
Mark Ruffalo was also present at the Film Awards to give his costar her award. He described his time on the film as “one of the great filmmaking experiences that I had.”
“We had a long rehearsal, it was with actors that I really admire, and I’ve wanted to work with for a while, it was with a great director who I’ve wanted to work with for a long time, and this incredible script,” Ruffalo said. “And we were coming out of COVID, it was such an oppressive time and everyone was so sad, and we just got to be free and outrageous.”
Danielle Brooks of ‘The Color Purple’
Danielle Brooks received the Spotlight Award, Actress, for her role as Sofia in “The Color Purple.” The actress made her Broadway debut by playing the character in the musical production of “The Color Purple,” which earned her a Tony Award nomination. Sofia is a role that will stay with her for a long time.
“She’s everything. She’s given me the chance to reclaim my strength and power and tell ‘no’ to any fear and doubt that I have in my mind, that I’m not worthy of these moments,” Brooks said. “I’m very grateful.”
Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, America Ferrera of ‘Barbie’
Sibling musical superstars Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell were the recipients of the Chairman’s Award for their song, “What Was I Made For,” for “Barbie.” The duo previously wrote “No Time to Die” for the film of the same name, and they said writing a song for a film is always a unique process.
“It was really about hearing about the movie, hearing about the scenes, what it’s about, how she was feeling, what she wanted. (Greta) showed us 30 minutes and a couple little scenes and described to us what she felt she wanted,” Eilish said. “It was a perfect example of being moved, objectively, genuinely, really, really moved by a movie. “
They were about to write the song in a night, but O’Connell said they had to “hold ourselves back from immediately sending the voice memo to Greta.”
“Just to take a second to make sure it was how we wanted it to be. We wrote the outro verse that hadn’t been written the first night, so I’m glad we took a second,” he added. “We’re very eager people.”
Actress America Ferrera was also in town to present “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig with the Director of the Year Award. Ferrera plays Gloria, a mother and Mattel employee whose emotional struggles lead to Barbie’s (Margot Robbie) own existential crisis. At one point in the film, she gives an extraordinary monologue about what it’s like to be a woman in the world, which several filmgoers related to.
“I think it was deeply personal, it had to be. I know it was personal to Greta when she wrote it, and we spent months just talking about the ways that those ideas show up in our culture all the time. We shared articles and TV episodes and poetry and everything that we saw in the culture that really supported the idea coming through in the monologue, we just shared,” Ferrera said. “By the time I was giving the monologue, each line was so linked to such specific ways that these words are true in our culture.”
Ema Sasic covers entertainment and health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ema_sasic.