Wanna hold a film festival that will draw scads of A-list stars? Simple. Just give everyone awards!

The  upcoming 17th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival and the 21st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will be major star-studded events. Both fests are growing in stature thanks, at least in part, to prominent actors and filmmakers who pop by to pick up an award and get a nice visibility boost in the weeks leading up to the Oscars.

Golden Globe nominees David Cronenberg (“A History of Violence”), Jake Gyllenhaal, (“Brokeback Mountain”) Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica”), Terrence Howard (“Hustle & Flow”), Charlize Theron (“North Country”) and Shirley MacLaine, (“In Her Shoes”) will all be honored on Jan. 7 at the PSIFF Gala Awards. The fest runs Jan 5-16.

The SBIFFl (Feb-2-12) has announced the most impressive talent roster in its history. Receiving honors during the fest: Golden Globe nominees George Clooney ("Good Night, and Good Luck," "Syriana"), Heath Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain")", Naomi Watts ("King Kong"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote"), and James Cameron. Who? Cameron. Remember his Oscar speech, "I’m king of the world?"

Curious about what award goes to which star? Thought so.

]]>At the Palm Springs Gala, Cronenberg’s nabbing the Sonny Bono Visionary Award. But don’t expect any jokes about Bono’s vision not being good enough to avoid that tree on the ski slopes. Although Cronenberg would certainly have the dark sense of humor to appreciate the irony.

Gyllenhaal’s getting the Desert Palm Actor Achievement Award. Howard wins the Rising Star Award and Huffman gets a Breakthrough Performance Award. "Sideways" producer Michael London, who just released "The Family Stone," receives a Producer of the Year award. MacLaine takes home the Lifetime Achievement Award. Rest assured someone will joke about her deserving one for ‘several lifetimes.’ Composer Thomas Newman ("Jarhead") gets a Frederick Loewe Award and Theron will get the Desert Palm Actress Achievement Award.

Up in Santa Barbara, Clooney will become a SBFF Modern Master on Feb. 3, thusly honored for his devotion to film and achievements as an actor, director, writer and producer. What, no award for being a hunky Hollywood heart throb?

Watts, Peter Jackson‘s Fay Wray, gets the 2006 Montecito Award on Feb. 4 during an intimate evening of film montages, an onstage chat and an effusive acceptance speech. Cameron will reportedly surface on Feb. 6 for the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking. Ever since “Titanic,” the Oscar-winning director has literally gone off the deep end, exploring the ocean floor to make films “Mysteries of the Titanic,” “Titanic Explorer” and “Aliens of the Deep.” Wouldn’t the Lloyd Bridges Award be more appropriate?

On Feb. 8, Golden Globe-nominee Ledger will receive the Breakthrough Performance of the Year” award for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee‘s tragic western love story, “Brokeback Mountain.” Finally, on Feb 11, Hoffman will get the American Riviera Award that, according to the press material, goes to an actor “whose past achievements and continued perseverance in film has enriched society as a whole.”

Hoffman’s past film achievements include “Scent of a Woman,” “Boogie Nights,” “Cold Mountain,”  “Almost Famous,” “Magnolia, “The Big Lebowski,” “Happiness,” Red Dragon,” “Along Came Polly” and the upcoming “Mission Impossible III.” Not to mention his spot-on Golden Globe-nominated Truman turn in “Capote.” Forget perseverance. They should call it the Versatility Award.

Posted by:LATimes