Brendan Fraser among Hollywood stars honoured at Palm Springs International Film Festival

Other famous actors celebrated on opening night include Colin Farrell, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh

Brendan Fraser accepts the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. AP
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Brendan Fraser, Colin Farrell and Cate Blanchett were among those honoured at the 34th Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Awards season front runners came together on Thursday as the festival began in California.

Other Hollywood stars celebrated on the first night included Michelle Yeoh, Austin Butler, Viola Davis, Bill Nighy and Danielle Deadwyler.

The annual festival returns in person for the first time since 2020 and runs until January 16, launching the 2023 awards season.

On opening night, Fraser joined an "in conversation" about his already critically acclaimed film The Whale, which has earned him several nominations thus far.

Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Photo: A24

The actor later received the festival's Spotlight Award, which was presented to him by his co-star in The Whale, Hong Chau.

Speaking to US outlet Variety on the red carpet, Fraser said he was "thrilled" to be back at an in-person festival.

"I hope that I get to meet people that I've admired from afar ... We're all back, we can do this again, which is thrilling," he said.

"Everyone who is being honoured tonight, I'm looking forward to having a moment with them and to just appreciate one another's work."

Fraser is also nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award for his performance in the psychological drama.

He stars as morbidly obese English teacher Charlie trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, played by Stranger Things' Sadie Sink.

Farrell was honoured with the actor's Desert Palm Achievement Award, following his performance in The Banshees of Inisherin, and Blanchett received the actress' equivalent honour for her turn in Tár.

Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Night Gala. AFP

Speaking to Variety, Farrell praised his co-star Brendan Gleeson, and said their next project together could not come "soon enough".

"He's a joy to work with, he comes to it from all the right places, as a man and as an artist," he told the outlet. "I love him dearly."

The pair have previously worked together under the direction of Martin McDonagh, in In Bruges, with Farrell adding that he would love to work with the filmmaker again.

Yeoh and Nighy were awarded with the International Star Awards, while Davis received the Chairman's Award.

Yeoh posed with her Everything Everywhere All At Once co-star Stephanie Hsu on the event's red carpet.

Butler and Deadwyler received awards for the breakthrough performances by actor and actress, respectively, and filmmaker Sarah Polley was recognised with the Director of the Year Award.

Butler was presented with his award by Elvis director Baz Luhrmann.

Steven Spielberg's semi-biographical film The Fabelmans received the Vanguard Award, with the Oscar-winning director also attending the event.

Other famous faces spotted on Thursday's red carpet included Paul Dano, Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival opening night comes less than a week before the Golden Globes on Tuesday and the Critics' Choice Awards next Sunday.

Updated: January 06, 2023, 7:13 AM