The 28-year-old actress had been expected to attend the prestigious event, which marks the start of awards season, alongside her La La Land co-star Ryan Gosling. However, her struggle with step throat, an infection that attacks the tonsils and larynx, meant Ryan had to go solo as the film picked up the Vanguard Award at the festival. Ryan was instead joined by La La Land director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz to collect the gong. The 36-year-old actor used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to Singin’ In The Rain star Debbie Reynolds. The actress died last Wednesday (28Dec16), just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, and Ryan credited her work in the musical classic as a huge inspiration to the La La Land cast when it came to shooting the film.
“I wish I could’ve said this in person, but I’d like to thank Debbie Reynolds for her wonderful career of work. She was an inspiration to us every day,” he said. “We watched Singin’ in the Rain every day for inspiration, and she was a truly unparalleled talent. So I thank her for all of that inspiration.” Other winners at the ceremony included Andrew Garfield, who took home the Spotlight Award for his role as real-life pacifist Desmond Doss in Mel Gibson’s World War Two film Hacksaw Ridge. His acceptance speech saw him cite Doss’ outlook on life as an inspiration for him and others, explaining to the audience: “He had a knowing inside of himself that we are all brothers and sisters, and that if I injure you, then I’m actually injuring myself.
“He was a personification of love. And I think, in this often troubling world, he is a terrific reminder of what’s possible: to live a humble life devoted to loving and serving our fellow man as we would have them love us. We need more Desmond Dosses in this world. That’s my wish and prayer for this new year.” Natalie Portman showcased her growing baby bump as she attended the evening alongside husband Benjamin Millepied to accept the Desert Palm Achievement Award, while Amy Adams took home the Chairman’s Award, Annette Bening was honoured with a Career Achievement Award, Nicole Kidman picked up the International Star Award and Tom Hanks collected the Icon Award.