LA Daily News – January 14, 2007


“Dana, you’re a wonderful nurse and a good woman,” Brad Pitt said into a fan’s cell phone when he arrived at the 18th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which ends tonight.

“My mother’s thrilled to hear your voice,” replied the young fan from Temecula. “And where’s Angelina?”

“She’s home putting the kids to bed,” Pitt calmly replied as he led “Babel” cast members Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi into the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The 1,800 guests at the festival’s gala awards presentation definitely got the impression that “Babel” could be the hottest film at the Golden Globe awards Monday night. Not only did the cast win the ensemble performance award, but Morgan Freeman also gave “Babel” director Alejandro González Inarritu the director of the year award, and Blanchett picked up a career achievement award. To top it off, Pitt led the entire audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to salute Kikuchi on her 26th birthday.

“Thank you for honoring ‘Babel,’ or ‘Baybelle’ or ‘Babelle’ — we’re still really not sure how to pronounce it,” Pitt said. “We’re very proud of the film, its international cast and its use of seasoned actors with non-actors. All of them gave very inspired and moving performances. Which just tells me that I’m grossly overpaid.”

Blanchett also got the award for the evening’s most risqué comment.

“In honor of this extraordinary award, I’m not wearing any underwear,” she said.

She tried to add, “I’m joking,” but her voice was drowned out by applause and laughter as Pitt “translated” her remark by feigning sign language.