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It's Awards Season! (Don't Duck)

Few know who is responsible for handing them out, not even recipients of the annual Hollywood Awards, doled out Monday night in Los Angeles.

But little matter. The Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony has emerged as the unofficial start of the awards season, and Hollywood types show up in droves for what may be the year's most enigmatic awards show.

"Well, maybe that's a good thing," observed Sandra Bullock, on hand to pick up a Supporting Actress trophy for her work in the drama, "Infamous," because "it happens every year. They make their decision. There's no one that you can campaign to. No one knows who anyone is. And there's no vying for the vote. They just vote on what they like, and what they think deserves the award. It's kind of nice. There's no stress leading up to it. It just happens."

Some of the Hollywood Awards are presented for films that aren't even finished yet. "I'm still working on the movie," confessed actor-turned-director Emilio Estevez, director of the docudrama "Bobby," which won for its ensemble cast. "I just came on the mixing stage, so the movie's not done yet."

When it comes to the Hollywood Awards, at least two things are no mystery: no question, the event is among the most star-studded this side of the Golden Globes, with a substantial chunk of likely Globe and Oscar contenders to be found on the red carpet. And the awards themselves have proven accurate predictors of those down the road. For example: the cast of "Crash" was name best ensemble last year, and a few months later, it won the same award from the Screen Actors Guild.

"Bobby" actor Joshua Jackson was humbled to be walking in the footsteps of the Oscar-winning "Crash." "Frankly, that's the best compliment a movie can get. I mean, what is one actor? Boring."

Other "Bobby" ensemble members present included Laurence Fishburne, Christian Slater, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Freddy Rodriguez, Heather Graham, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Sharon Stone.

"It was a real ensemble, because, in fact, we all really worked together," Stone said. "We were all really together. It was quite something to be there and come out of your trailer and to see that astonishing cast all at the lunch tables together. Because, often, when you make a film, even if there is a great cast, you rarely see each other, or rarely see each other at the same time. But in this particular film, you actually work with everybody. It was just marvelous."

Other winners included Penelope Cruz, named as Actress of the Year, who is widely considered a top contender for the upcoming Oscars.

"The buzz is very, very exciting," she confessed. "But it's really much better and much healthier not to think about it. It really is, because, you never know, even if people tell you every day, that's already a nice thing — that people like your work, and that doesn't happen in every movie. And people are very honest about those things, when they don't like something they tell you also. So, thank you for saying that, but I think it's better if you don't think about it."

Robin Williams took home the Lifetime Achievement Award. Though he's been a bankable big-budget comedy leading man, he's perhaps earned his greatest acclaim for roles in smaller and darker films, such as "Good Will Hunting," "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo."

He seems to go from small indies to big Hollywood productions with ease. "Yeah, but I can do that, which is great," Williams said.

Ben Affleck was named best Supporting Actor for his role in "Hollywoodland." After a couple years off and a few previous making critical and commercial disappointments as a leading man, he said it was good to be back in a character part.

Said Affleck: "I love it. I love it. And I really … like, all the movies that I'm most proud of, like this or 'Shakespeare in Love' or 'Boiler Room' or even 'Good Will Hunting' to a certain extent, they're all, like, these kinds of supporting roles, where you get to be a little bit more unusual. You don't have to … carry the burden of telling the story."