The 2017 awards season resumed with a vengeance in the desert 100 miles east of Los Angeles, where the Palm Springs International Film Festival threw its annual Awards Gala on January 2.

La La Land was there, of course, and so were Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight and Hidden Figures and Arrival and Loving and Lion and Hacksaw Ridge and Jackie and 20th Century Women.

On their way into the Palm Springs Convention Center, their stars and filmmakers all stopped by TheWrap’s photo studio to hang out, mingle, share awards-season war stories and tell us their outlook for the future —and within a couple of weeks, their movies would be sitting on 56 Oscar nominations and a couple of unforgivable snubs. (We still love you, Amy.)

By Steve Pond
Photographed by Jeff Vespa

◄ JANELLE MONÁE, KIRSTEN DUNST, GLEN POWELL, OCTAVIA SPENCER, KIMBERLY QUINN, JIM PARSONS, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, MIMI VALDÉS AND ALDIS HODGE,
HIDDEN FIGURES
“I hope there’s a lot of common ground, where people look beyond themselves and their old beliefs and just look at people as people,” said Spencer, who plays one of three black women who were essential to NASA’s space program in the 1960s. “I think if we do that, we’ll be a lot happier on this Earth."

◄ OCTAVIA SPENCER, HIDDEN FIGURES
“I hope there’s a lot of common ground, where people look beyond themselves and their old beliefs and just look at people as people,” said Spencer, who plays one of three black women who were essential to NASA’s space program in the 1960s. “I think if we do that, we’ll be a lot happier on this Earth."

► NATALIE PORTMAN, JACKIE
A nominee for playing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie, Portman was succinct when asked what she hopes to see in 2017. “Good surprises,” she said. “As opposed to last year’s bad surprises.”

◄ MIKE MILLS, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
The writer-director of one of the year’s slyest and most touching movies doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for the upcoming 12 months. “I hope it’s not 10 times tougher than the last year,” he said with a rueful grin. “I feel like we’re in for it, and it’s just begun.”

NICOLE KIDMAN AND DEV PATEL, LION
“I think the film shows the inherent goodness in all of us,” said Kidman of Lion, in which she plays an adoptive mother who supports her son in his quest to find the birth mother he lost when he was 5. “That is a lovely thing to be putting out right now, because it is a strange time.”

◄ AMY ADAMS, ARRIVAL
“I’m trying to head into the new year with gratitude,” said Adams, who inexplicably didn’t get one of the eight nominations for the emotional sci-fi brainteaser Arrival. “I think that’s something that energizes you and helps you keep focused on what you want instead of focusing on that which you don’t.”

► MAHERSHALA ALI, MOONLIGHT
“My wish for 2017 is for all of us to be a little more open,” said Moonlight star Ali. “More tolerant. And to really grow, and accept people on their terms.”

RUTH NEGGA AND JOEL EDGERTON, LOVING
For Best Actress nominee Negga, her models are Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple she and Edgerton play in Jeff Nichols’ Loving: “They serve as a reminder of how much better we can all be when we recognize our common humanity and what unites us: love.”

▲ DAMIEN CHAZELLE AND RYAN GOSLING, LA LA LAND
For La La Land director Chazelle, (seen here with star Gosling, composer Hurwitz and producer Berger), any look ahead is inspired by the many brilliant creators who left us over the past year. “2016 was a year marked by tremendous loss,” he said, “and it reminds me how important art really is.”

▲ DAMIEN CHAZELLE, RYAN GOSLING AND
JUSTIN HURWITZ, LA LA LAND
For La La Land director Chazelle, (seen here with star Gosling, composer Hurwitz and producer Berger), any look ahead is inspired by the many brilliant creators who left us over the past year. “2016 was a year marked by tremendous loss,” he said, “and it reminds me how important art really is.”

▲ DAMIEN CHAZELLE, RYAN GOSLING,
JUSTIN HURWITZ AND FRED BERGER, LA LA LAND
For La La Land director Chazelle, (seen here with star Gosling, composer Hurwitz and producer Berger), any look ahead is inspired by the many brilliant creators who left us over the past year. “2016 was a year marked by tremendous loss,” he said, “and it reminds me how important art really is.”

► ANDREW GARFIELD, HACKSAW RIDGE
Garfield’s character in Hacksaw Ridge was real-life combat medic Desmond Doss, who rescued dozens of men in fierce combat zones while refusing to carry a weapon. “He transcended religion, he transcended politics,” said Garfield. “He was a wounded healer in deeply wounded times—and in this troubling world, he is a terrific reminder of what’s possible. We need more Desmond Dosses in this world. That’s my hope and prayer for the new year.”

► CASEY AFFLECK, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
“I've been doing this for 23 years, and this was by far one of the best scripts I'd ever read,” said Casey Affleck of his role as a man dealing with family tragedy in Manchester by the Sea. “The material was so evocative and moving that sometimes on the set I would think, ‘We got what was on the page, and what was on the page worked really well.’”

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