Ryan Gosling Pays Beautiful Tribute to Debbie Reynolds

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Ryan Gosling, Palm Springs International Film Festival

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Isn’t any surprise that Ryan Gosling was thinking of Debbie Reynolds at tonight’s Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala?

The actor was on hand because his movie musical La La Land was honored with this year’s Vanguard Award.

“I wish I could have said this in person but I’d like to thank Debbie Reynolds for her wonderful career of work,” said Gosling, who accepted the award alongside his director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz (co-star Emma Stone skipped the evening because she has strep throat). “She was an inspiration to us every day. We watched Singing in the Rain every day for inspiration, a truly unparalleled talent so thank you to her for all that inspiration.”

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Honoree Nicole Kidman spoke about returning to the festival after first making an appearance 12 years ago with her late father Antony Kidman. “I was newly single and he came with me as my date…and he held my hand as we walked up the red carpet and I still have photos of that so this is really an emotional evening for me,” the Lion star said. “And even though he’s not here now a lot of great things have happened in my life in the last 12 years. I met the love of my life and I got married to him and I grew my family with him.”

Tom Hanks presented the Desert Palm Achievement Award to Jackie star Natalie Portman. “I think I can retire now after getting Tom Hanks to say such nice things about me,” Portman quipped.

She also shared a story about her grandmother telling her how she and her roommate had to share one dress when they moved to Palestine from Romania in the late 1930s. “They had to take turns who could go out for the day,” Portman said. “One would stay home in their bed in their underwear while the other friend got to be out working and wearing the one dress. I think it would tickle her I hope at least to know that I got to play the best dressed woman in the world.”

Spotlight Award winner Andrew Garfield went off script to thank Hanks for being his greatest inspiration. “You are directly responsible for me being here and to be standing beside you is a humbling honor to say the least,” the star of Hacksaw Ridge and Silence said of Hanks, who received the night’s only standing ovation when his Sully co-star Laura Linney presented him with the Icon Award.

Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe spoke when their film Hidden Figures received the Ensemble Performance Award. The real-life drama tells the story of three black female scientists who were instrumental in the success of the U.S. space program in the 1960s.

“I hope we as human beings when we watch this film it serves as a reminder of what happens when we set aside our differences, when we get rid of the isms—the racism, the sexism, the classism,” Monáe said. “I hope it serves as a reminder that we can achieve the extraordinary.”

The night’s honorees also included Amy Adams for Arrival, Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali, Manchester By the Sea star Casey Affleck, Ruth Negga for Loving and Annette Bening.

For more from the festival, make sure to watch E! News tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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