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SAN DIEGO – Hollywood stars rolled into the Pendry Hotel Thursday for a night of awards highlighting the San Diego International Film Festival’s Variety Night of the Stars.

The man of the hour, Sir Patrick Stewart, best known for his years in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” received the Gregory Peck Award for Excellence in Cinema.

“I love my job, I love it passionately, even more today than at any other time in what is I think nearly a 55-year career. I cannot wait for the next day’s work to come around or the next script to land on my computer,” Stewart said.

He then spoke about the growing interest of actors wanting to do more than the big screen work.

“The opportunities for actors are opening up and opening up,” Stewart said. And it’s not just that star actors are still making movies — now they’re making unexpected movies, they’re making challenging movies. There is a strong inclination towards independent low-budget films and there is some extraordinary work done there. How even in that world of the big budget studio superhero movie, things are changing and adjusting.”

Heather Graham graced the red carpet and talked about how television is taking more risks than the movie industry.

“Now everyone from movies is wanting to be in television but of course movies are just kind of the true love that you grow up with, wanting to be in movies,” Graham said.

Blake Jenner got to share the stage with Stewart as he received the Rising Star Award, a dream he’s had since he was a kid.

“It’s crazy. I’m constantly pinching myself this whole evening, every single interview, I’m just pinching myself, seeing if I’m going to wake up or something,” Jenner said. “It’s crazy. I’ve loved doing this since I was a kid so it’s a wild moment. But me and my younger self, we’re both here going strong.”