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Sand and stars

January 13, 2008|Monica Corcoran | Times Staff Writer

THE pall of the writers strike certainly didn't douse the high wattage of the 18th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival last weekend. Much like the ominous clouds in the desert sky threatening to dampen the proceedings, it just loomed.

At a reunion dinner for the "Hairspray" folks at the Parker Palm Springs hotel Friday night, talk pirouetted from the fate of the Golden Globes to memories of the late Barry White. "He was my godfather," revealed director Adam Shankman, who had choreographed the R&B singer's final two tours. "I surrounded him with girls on daybeds, putting lotion on themselves while he sang."

The next night, more than 1,600 people converged on the Convention Center for the annual "black tie-optional" gala, sponsored by Cartier. The decidedly homespun affair felt fresh compared with canned award shows, but why can't dress codes be more decisive? Most female attendees eschewed gussy get-ups. Marion Cotillard of "La Vie en Rose" opted for a sequined, retro-style Chanel with a modern sheared hem; "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody took a cue from Bettie Page with her snug leopard-print shift and short, blunt bangs.

"This is the first red carpet that I have walked down where I didn't have to think about holding in my stomach -- because I can't," said a pregnant Halle Berry, wearing a flirty black mini dress by Temperley. "ET's" Mary Hart, who hosted the gala, chose an unfortunate frothy purple confection that rustled like autumn leaves underfoot with each step.

If anyone deserved an award for sartorial splendor, it was Daniel Day-Lewis. The Irish actor wore a traditional tuxedo, replete with a bow tie and matching silver hoop earrings. Think Captain Hook meets Cary Grant. As for the strike, it surprisingly didn't come up in speeches until Bruce Willis took the stage and quipped: "It's a lot funnier on TV when the writers are working, huh?"

Yes, and there are plenty more award shows to choose from too.


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