Palm Springs: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey Upbeat on the Red Carpet

Bono, left, and The Edge
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

U2 received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.

The fest kicked off with Bono and the Edge saying they were touched to be honored, while Harvey Weinstein humorously rebuffed reporters: "Don't Instagram me! Talk to my casts!"

The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival kicked off Saturday with an ebullient -- and very long -- red carpet that clearly begins the long, long walk through awards season. Stars including Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep traversed it. So did Bono and the Edge, who picked up the Sonny Bono Visionary Award. The U2 rockers wrote and the recorded the song "Ordinary Love" for the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

12 Years a Slave star and Breakthrough Performance honoree Lupita Nyong'o (in Elie Saab), was feeling a lot of gratitude for her first stroll down an awards show carpet.

"It's so amazing to have this experience. I'm so honored to be part of this. This means so much," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "Part of me is in the clouds, but my little brother, who's here with me, is keeping the other part of me on the ground."

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Gary Oldman, a past Palm Springs acting honoree, was on hand to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award to Matthew McConaughey.

"Mathew is a true professional," Oldman told THR. "We worked together a long time ago. He's charming, funny as hell, and his humor is so unique. It's under the radar. I love his work in Dallas Buyer's Club -- it's just thrilling."

Bruce Dern, recipient of the Career Achievement Award, attributed the appeal of Nebraska to its geography.

"It's not from the corridors -- the East Coast and West Coast -- it's about the heartland," he said. "And it's in black and white and it's honest. It's also about dreaming. I'm 77 -- and you can't take the dreams away from old folks. Their families shouldn't do it. If they do -- then get another family!"

McConaughey spoke about his proclivity for independent film roles.

"It doesn't have to be an independent film," he told THR. "But they're the ones that make their own rules -- and allow for the combination of entertainment and truth."

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Harvey Weinstein turned up to support his films Philomena, August: Osage County and Mandela, but when reporters wanted to talk to him, he just laughed and said, "Don't Instagram me! Talk to my casts! Talk to Steve Coogan!"

One of his esteemed cast -- Osage County's Julia Roberts (in a chic lace covered leopard long sleeved Gucci cocktail dress with a gold bead hem) said that despite being a veteran of awards season, she still gets excited.

"I have to admit -- I'm getting more excited about all of this by the minute!"

Hanks, picking up the Chairman's Award for Saving Mr. Banks and Captain Phillips, said he can still get a rush out of awards season.

"Hey, it's free food! If the party's a good time -- great. Other times you just wanna go home!"

Bono and the Edge, picking up the Visionary Award for their song in Mandela, gushed about their excitement at being at the gala.

"We're really touched to be honored and considered. This means a lot coming from the film industry," said the Edge.

Added Bono: "We were so moved and impassioned by Nelson Mandela's achievements. We knew the man and were honored to be a part of this project."