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Julia Roberts receives Spotlight Award at Palm Spring Film Festival

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Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts was presented with the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival at its annual awards gala on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Palm Springs, Calif. Roberts is being honored for her role in the new film "August: Osage County." Presented by Cartier, the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala was hosted by television personality Mary Hart. The awards gala also presented honors to Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, director Steve McQueen, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Lupita Nyong'o, Thomas Newman and the cast of "American Hustle." The Festival runs January 3-14, 2014.

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Co-star with Julia Robert's in "August: Osage County," Ewan McGregor was on hand to pay tribute to Academy Award winner Julia Roberts saying simply "She is no stranger to accolades."

Julia took to the strange as the band played "Pretty Woman." And Julia went on to have the shortest remarks of the night and somewhat the strangest as well when she continued "I learned in high school that it is a scientific fact that all birds fly higher and faster in formation that any individual bird will ever fly alone. Every moment of my career is only an illustration of that scientific fact. And for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you very much."

“Julia Roberts is a consummate actress with a range as vast as her talent,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Her ability to consistently give standout performances over the past 25 years is remarkable. In her latest, 'August: Osage County,' she is a key catalyst in a darkly comic tale of a family coming back together after tragedy strikes. To Julia Roberts, one of the best actresses of our age and any other, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present the Spotlight Award.”

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award include Helen Hunt, Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain.

Julia Roberts is currently starring as the daughter to of a dysfunctional family that is full of strong-willed women in "August: Osage County." The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by Tracy Letts and tells the story of the family reuniting after a family crisis. The film also stars Meryl Streep (another honoree of tonight's awards), Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Julianne Nicholson and Misty Upham.

Julia Roberts is the quintessential female movie star. Her role in "Pretty Women" with Richard Gere made Julia a star. She has starred in "Mystic Pizza," "Steel Magnolias," "Everyone Says I Love You," "The Pelican Brief," "Stepmom," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Notting Hill," "Oceans Eleven," "Closer" and "Eat Pray Love." But her Oscar-winning role was in the biopic "Erin Brockovich." Roberts is now working on an HBO movie "The Normal Heart," based on the play by Larry Kramer. It is set to be release in May of 2014.

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For Palm Springs visitors and residents check out TheMovieGal.com.

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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cellphones and no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.

-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com

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