2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival

WHY HELLO, AWARDS SEASON: Many a film enthusiast has attempted to pinpoint the true beginning of awards season. Some might say it is the release of the first true indie contender, in September or October; others when end-of-the-year accolades start showing up in the trades. But the Palm Springs International Film Festival is a good indicator, too. Maybe not of the beginning, but more the beginning of the middle of the season, when things really get going.

FIRST OF THREE: While notable festivals are opening practically every week, Palm Springs is always near the very beginning of the year, and just ahead of Sundance and Santa Barbara, two other major gatherings that gather a lot of the LA-based glitterati. The P.S. party opens on Thursday, Jan. 6, runs through Jan. 17, stars will show (Marion Cotillard, pictured above, was there in 2010), and films will break out. Done, done, done, and done. Get info on tickets and screenings.

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