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Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Allen Leech accept their award. Photo: Getty

Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Allen Leech accept their award. Photo: Getty

Getty Images for PSIFF

Brad Pitt at the awards ceremony

Brad Pitt at the awards ceremony

Getty Images for PSIFF

Reese Witherspoon at the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in California. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Reese Witherspoon at the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in California. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Getty Images for PSIFF

Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Allen Leech accept their award. Photo: Getty

Irish actor Allen Leech was among an array of talent who received an award for their role in 'The Imitation Game' at the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.

One of the yearly showpiece events for the movie business, the festival traditionally attracts a host of Hollywood stars, as well as producers and directors from various parts of the world.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance and Rory Kinnear were among the cast of 'The Imitation Game'.

Leech was among those mentioned in the citation as part of the Ensemble Performance Award.

The movie tells of efforts by the newly created British intelligence agency, MI6, to recruit a Cambridge mathematics graduate to try to crack the infamous Enigma code and other Nazi secrets.

The MI6 team led by Cumberbatch and Knightley build a machine which successfully breaks down the mystery codes, and they are regarded as heroes.

However, some years later the heroic maths guru - who has been central to the whole project - has his life turned upside down when it emerges he is gay and he is sent to prison.

This is the latest accolade achieved by Killiney, Co Dublin native Leech, whose acting career has gone from success to success.

He is already well known for his role as the opinionated chauffeur Tom Branson in the ground-breaking costume drama 'Downton Abbey'.

Having earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from TCD, he landed his first major roles in 'Cowboys & Angels' and 'Man About Dog' while still at Trinity.

In 2010, he secured a part in the hugely popular series 'The Tudors' and first came to international attention as Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama 'Rome'.

This year's winners at Palm Springs included Julianne Moore, who bagged the Desert Palm Achievement Award for her work in 'Still Alice'.

Moore has already won much praise for her role in the movie, which tells the story of a happily married woman with three grown-up children.

She is a highly regarded linguistics professor who is traumatised when she begins to forget words. As her mental capacity declines, both she and her family find their relationships are put under unprecedented pressure.

Also among those who received a gong were Robert Duvall and Reese Witherspoon, as well as Rosamund Pike for her role in 'Gone Girl'.

The director of 'Boyhood', Richard Linklater, was honoured with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, which was presented by Hollywood icon Shirley MacLaine.

Big name stars including Brad Pitt attended the event.

Irish Independent