Bradley Cooper at the Palm Springs Film Festival. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
In the case of Bradley Cooper, who celebrated his 37th birthday on Saturday, he was handed the Desert Palm Achievement Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The evening marked Cooper’s first public appearance since his reported split from former co-star Zoe Saldana, when he stood up to receive the honor for his work in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
In an emotional introduction from director David O. Russell, the actor was celebrated for his ability to surprise audiences in the bipolar drama opposite “The Hunger Games” lead Jennifer Lawrence.
Speaking of surprises, Russell and gala host Mary Hart cornered Cooper on stage and had the crowd – which included Ben Affleck, Naomi Watts, Helen Mirren, Tom Hanks, and "Les Miserables" director Tom Hooper – sing “Happy Birthday.”
An after party followed at the swanky Parker Palm Springs hotel, where birthday boy Bradley barely made it five feet into the tented affair.
Rushed by locals and industry admirers, Cooper graciously posed for a dozen or so fan photos before dipping out through the lobby.
Watts, bundled up in a leather jacket and scarf, stuck close to “director Hooper and his handsome star Eddie Redmayne while career achievement award winner Sally Field sat back and took compliments.
Other festival winners included Mirren, named international star, Helen Hunt for “The Sessions” and prolific director Robert Zemeckis.
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