Emotions run high in desert at Palm Springs awards gala

Full Screen
1 / 6

Greta Gerwig, left, and Quentin Tarantino, winner of the director of the year award for his film "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," pose in the press room poses in the press room at the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

PALM SPRINGS, CA – Hollywood kicked off the year's compressed awards season with an emotional night in the desert.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival's annual opening gala is often treated by honorees as a businesslike, pro forma stop on the industry's self-congratulation circuit. But Thursday found Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez and Quentin Tarantino wiping away tears onstage at the city's convention center.

Dern, presented with the career achievement award, was surprised with a video of her divorced parents Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd high-fiving as they praised her, saying “You got game.”

"That was really moving for me," the 52-year-old actress said. "And every kid kind of wants to see their parents together."

Dern, who stars in "Little Women" and "Marriage Story," then told the crowd of more than 2,000 dinner guests that she'd been conceived in the nearby mountain town of Idyllwild during production of the 1966 Roger Corman biker movie "The Wild Angels."

Lopez apologized for being overcome with emotion after an introduction from "Hustlers" writer-director Lorene Scafaria.

"I'm so glad to be here but I want to run out the door, I'm so nervous," she said.

The 50-year-old performer, likely to land her first Oscar nomination later this month, noted that women held key roles both behind and in front of the camera on the crime drama.