Ten years ago the Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival was a respected, smartly-programmed venue for foreign films with a few celebrities and photos ops on the side. Now it’s a star-studded, rock-your-paparazzi, award-season megashow with A-class celebs, limos, security goons and guys like me taking pictures and…uhm, oh yeah, right, a smartly-programmed venue for foreign film on the side.

August: Osage County‘s Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep prior to last night’s Palm Springs Film Festival gala award ceremony. I only attended the after-party. Pic is totally stolen from JustJared.com.

I didn’t attend last night’s big awards hand-out at the Palm Springs Convention Center but I attended the after-party at the Parker Palm Springs. For about 40 minutes. Great, I got in without a hitch…now what? Position yourself near this or that award-season contender so you can chat for 90 seconds before the next pushy, socially anxious reveller makes his or her move? It’s a zoo. I’m a quiet sitdown kind of guy. I’d rather hang out with my cats. Or…you know, do an interview in a hotel room or a cafe. But not this.

The #1 thing you don’t do, I can tell you, is stand around and take pictures of stars talking to each other with your iPhone. Touristy, tacky, weird. Oh, forget it, everyone does it, sorry I brought it up. I took pictures but not of celebrities. I tried to capture the vibe, the mood, etc. I failed. Everything I snapped at the party was shit. The quality of my photography, I mean.

Oh, look, there’s 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and Best Supporting Actress contender Lupita Nyong’o. And there’s Philomena‘s Steve Coogan walking just in front of me. (“Hey, man…we were supposed to do an interview in L.A. yesterday.”) I didn’t see Osage County‘s Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor and Margot Martindale but they were at the gala at least. Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. BanksTom Hanks was at the party. American Hustle director David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper. Dallas Buyers Club‘s Matthew McConaughey. Mandela‘s Idris Elba. Gravity‘s Sandra Bullock. Saving Mr. BanksColin Farrell.

I got there early and left early. The people who came a bit late were condemned to a long, long line that snaked all the way through the Parker and out to the parking lot. Condemned to wait and wait and wait, and then they finally get in and the movie stars are off in a corner talking to themselves or have already left and the hors d’oevures have been cleaned out. But hey, if we get our cell phones out we can maybe get a shot or two!

It was cold out, man. Very chill. You needed an overcoat or at least a big scarf.

I’m staying at the Desert Riviera Inn (610 E. Palm Canyon Drive). Pleasant vibe, good wifi, nice 1950s design, friendly staff, free bicycles to ride around on

As mentioned, I didn’t make it to the big gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center so all red-carpet pics have been totally stolen from JustJared.com.