6 January 2013 1:12 PM, PST | Cineplex | See recent Cineplex news »

The Award Season Express made its first stop of the new year in the middle of the desert a couple hours east of Hollywood at the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival gala.

A blast of Golden Globe nominees and Oscar hopefuls walked the press gauntlet Saturday night, including Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Helen Hunt and John Hawkes (The Sessions), Ben Affleck (Argo) and Arbitrage star Richard Gere, who received the night's so-called Chairman's Award.

"Great," Gere noted with more than a touch of sarcasm. "That's better than the Governors Award?" he inquired with a chuckle. "What's the pecking order of these awards? I want to know. Am I getting the best award? I'm not going in unless I'm getting the best award!"

Though the 63-year-old Gere has never received an Oscar nomination, there were previous Academy Award winners aplenty at the Palm Springs gala. Among them, Sally Field, the night's honoree for career achievement, »

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