British stars Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo win at Palm Springs Festival

Rosamund Pike was also recognised at a star-studded ceremony as the film industry's awards season swings into action

As the 2015 awards season gathers momentum, it’s the British stars continuing to sweep the board at this year’s early ceremonies. Last night was the turn of the Palm Springs Film Festival where Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike were all recognised. 

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For Redmayne, it was the coveted acting honour for his highly-praised portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in biopic The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh whom he thanked for giving him “the confidence to fail”.

The Imitation Game’s Benedict Cumberbatch was also recognised, taking to the stage with co-stars Allen Leech, Matthew Beard and Alex Lawther to pick up the gong for ensemble performance. The film charts British intellectual Alan Turing’s codebreaking endeavours and also stars Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley, whom Cumberbatch joked was absent because she “thought the awards were being held in Palm Beach”. 

Oyelowo – who has won high praise for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in Selma – was presented with the breakthrough prize by the film’s producer Brad Pitt, who led the audience in a sing-a-long lesson in how to pronounce Oyelowo’s surname. “You know you have broken through when Brad Pitt sings your name,” 38-year-old Oyelowo quipped. 

Also recognised for her breakthrough performance was Pike for her acclaimed turn as Amy Dunne opposite Ben Affleck in the recent adaptation of best-selling novel Gone Girl. 

Among the night’s other winners were Birdman director Alejandro González Inárritu, introduced by his star Michael Keaton, Boyhood’s Richard Linklater, Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons, Julianne Moore (for Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (who was handed the chairman’s award for Wild) and Foxcatcher’s Steve Carell, honoured for his creative impact in acting. 

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We chatted to Eddie Redmayne about his friendship with Benedict Cumberbatch and fighting Stephen Hawking to play a Bond villain. Take a look below: