The Palm Springs International Film Society has announced that its annual opening night Awards Gala is cancelled and will not take place on Thursday, January 6th, 2022. The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Gala is one of the largest events in the film world with 2500 guests and more than 1000 staff in the room. It is usually well-attended by the entertainment community because most of the award recipients show up in person to receive their awards. The PSIFF says it is taking this action "due to the recent spike in COVID cases and out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of the honorees, patrons, and staff." This is the second year they have had to take this action because of the pandemic. Although the Gala is cancelled, the film festival screenings will go forward.
This year the Gala would have been headed by Lady Gaga ("House of Gaga"), recipient of the Icon Award; Nicole Kidman ("Being the Ricardos"); filmmaker Kenneth Branagh and actors Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Jude Hill ("Belfast"), recipients of the Vanguard Award; and Jane Campion ("The Power of the Dog"), winner of the Director of the Year Award.
Other recipients expected were Jessica Chastain ("The Eyes of Tammy Faye"), who was to receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award; Penélope Cruz ("Parallel Mothers"), recipient of the International Star Award; Andrew Garfield ("tick, tick...BOOM!"), winner of the Desert Palm Achievement Award; and Jennifer Hudson ("Respect"), recipient of the Chairman’s Award. Actors Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal and Tony Goldwyn ("King Richard"), are the winners of the Ensemble Performance Award; and Kristen Stewart ("Spencer") was to receive the Spotlight Award.
The Film Society stated that the screening portion of the Palm Springs International Film Festival will take place on Friday, January 7th, through Monday, January 17th, 2022, and will require proof of vaccination and the wearing of a mask. They also stated that the Film Awards will partner with "Entertainment Tonight" to celebrate this year’s honorees with details to follow. Those who purchased tickets for the Film Awards will be reimbursed. The PSIFF is hopeful that the Film Awards will return to an in-person event in 2023.
For more information on the Palm Springs International Film Festival, visit its official site.