Hollywood Awards Gala shines spotlight on 'The Social Network,' Sean Penn, Sylvester Stallone
And they're off! If Monday's 14th annual Hollywood Awards Gala, touted as the official start of the busy awards season, is any indication, "The Social Network" stars and creators had better start shining up their party shoes. Just about everyone involved with the hit film about the rise of Facebook -- including Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and the rest of the young cast, plus screenwriter winner Aaron Sorkin -- left the Beverly Hilton Hotel with something nice for his or her mantle.
"I'm thrilled that you've recognized the incredible cast of 'The Social Network,' " Sorkin said. "John Lennon said, 'I'd rather have a band than a Rolls Royce.' Notwithstanding the fact that he could have had both, I know what he means."
The awards gala, which kicks off the Hollywood Film Festival, is one of awards season's newer contenders, and the starry turnout demonstrated how awards shows have mushroomed in recent years. Click the pic of Timberlake and Eisenberg below to launch a gallery of pictures from the event.
After an iffy start, when emcee Mary Hart's zipper broke and she had to be sewn into her dress, a virtual lifetime's worth of celebs streamed across the stage, including Mia Wasikowska, who took home the breakthrough actress award for the title role in "Alice in Wonderland," and Sylvester Stallone, winner of the career achievement award. He was introduced by action buddies Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
Stallone, a rare sight on red carpets these days, was practically giddy as he accepted his award, thanking "my daughters and my wife because they forgot what I used to do. They thought I was a bad golfer for a living."
Other honorees included actress award winner Annette Bening, who mentioned "my husband" in her acceptance speech for "The Kids Are All Right," perhaps to deflect rumors about trouble in Bening-Beatty paradise, and best actor winner Robert Duvall, chosen for his performance in "Get Low," who kibbitzed with animation award presenter Don Rickles in the hotel lobby after the show.
But the honoree who seemed to have the entire ballroom in awe was Sean Penn, who earned a standing ovation and the humanitarian award for his rescue work in Haiti. He had just returned from that country the night before. As Army Lt. Gen. Ken Keen told the black-tie crowd in presenting the award, Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization hit the ground with medical supplies and staff within a week of the January earthquake and relocated refugees in a camp hit by flash floods.
"The first thing that came to my mind were the howls of laughter of my staff at the notion of me being a humanitarian," Penn said. "I pride myself on being a functionary, and my staff prides itself on being able to function under me despite the vitriol, the slander, the demands and bossiness placed on them by yours truly. ... They worked through major storms, they danced through deadly bacteria, they looked back gun barrels."
He went on to entreat environmental technology entrepreneurs to invest in Haiti. "You cannot finance humanitarianism. Haitians are human already. What they need are jobs, clean water, shelter and security."
Award winners also included Zach Galifianakis, Jennifer Lawrence, Leighton Meester, Helena Bonham Carter, Morgan Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mila Kunis, producer-director Danny Boyle, Milla Jovovich and composer Hans Zimmer.
Presenting the awards were James Franco, Halle Berry, Carey Mulligan, Hillary Swank, Jodie Foster, Josh Brolin and Diane Lane, Justin Long, Aaron Eckhart, Heather Graham and Danny DeVito.
-- Irene Lacher
Photos, from top: Mary Hart hosts the 4th annual Hollywood Awards Gala in Beverly Hills on Oct. 25, 2010. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Hollywood Awards. Justin Timberlake, left, and Jesse Eisenberg on stage. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Hollywood Awards. Sean Penn and Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, head of the U.S. military relief effort in Haiti. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press