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U2 to receive Palm Springs Film Fest award


U2 have been named recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival, PSIFF organizers announced on Monday.

The award to the Irish rock band marks the first time the honor has gone to a musician or musicians rather than a director, and gives U2 frontman Bono a Bono Award that in the past has been reserved for the likes of Quentin TarantinoDanny BoyleBaz LuhrmannMichel Hazanavicius and Gus Van Sant.

PSIFF opted to give the award to U2 members Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. on the heels of the band writing the song “Ordinary Love” for Justin Chadwick’s film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” In a press release announcing the award, the festival’s chairman, Harold Matzner, also singled out the group’s “unparalleled humanitarian work against extreme poverty, disease and social injustice.”

The award is something of a coup both for the Weinstein Company, which managed to give “Mandela” a shot of exposure at a time when it is having a hard time gaining awards traction, and for the festival, which landed an internationally-famous group of honorees and lured U2 to their glitzy event by only slightly bending the definition of the award.

And considering that the award is named after the late Palm Springs mayor who started the festival 25 years ago after coming to fame as a singer, songwriter and producer, giving it to a rock band is perhaps not as strange as it might initially seem.

In putting together a lineup of honorees for the fundraising gala in the desert resort town, PSIFF has negotiated an extraordinarily high-profile lineup with studios and reps looking to showcase their talent while Oscar voting is taking place.

The year’s other honorees are Meryl StreepJulia RobertsSandra BullockTom HanksMatthew McConaughey,Bruce DernLupita Nyong’o, Steve McQueen, composer Thomas Newman and the cast of “American Hustle.”

The award to U2 completes the list of honorees for this year’s sold-out gala, which will take place on Jan. 4 at thePalm Springs Convention Center.

As an aside, when U2 performed on the Oscars 10 years ago with a song from “The Gangs of New York,” Bono bristled at the extravagant, lavish stage set, with its giant translucent panels that vaguely suggested a crystal goblet. “I f—ing hate the room,” he told me after rehearsal. “We’re singing a song about poverty underneath a huge f—ing Waterford crystal.”

Wait until he get a load of the décor at the Palm Springs gala, which is sponsored by Cartier.