Austin was celebrating film this week before the SXSW crowds even arrived. On Thursday night, Austin Film Society held its ninth annual Texas Film Hall of Fame awards gala at Austin Studios, honoring Texans and "honorary Texans" in the film industry. It's a fundraising event for filmmaker grants and educational programs, and attire ranges from the glitziest cocktail dresses to blue jeans and cowboy boots. Thomas Haden Church emceed the ceremony, revealing surprising depths of bizarre-yet-enjoyable humor. Really, I think someone should consider him to host the Oscars next year, although I don't know what his singing and dancing talents might be.

Thirteenand Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, shown above, received the Ann Richards award for someone in film who "who breaks barriers and forges new creative paths." Her award was presented by Brendan Fraser. The Star of Texas award for an exceptional film made in Texas went to Rushmore, which was filmed in Houst -- Luke Wilson accepted the award. Linda Gray, who nearly goosed Thomas Haden Church onstage, inducted her Dallas co-star Larry Hagman into the Hall of Fame. Keith Carradine inducted Powers Boothe. Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater shared a tribute to Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote, a Hall of Famer who died earlier this year. And Dennis Quaid presented the Tom Mix Honorary Texan award to his The Alamo co-star Billy Bob Thornton, who explained to us how he was more of a real Texan than an honorary one, anyway.

We've got photos of the event's honorees in the gallery below (as well as a few other familiar-looking attendees); check 'em out.

categories Awards, Cinematical