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awards rush

'The Irish are on fire': Stars walk the 'green carpet' for Oscar Wilde Awards in LA

Kerry Condon, Jessie Buckley and Eve Hewson were all honoured at this year’s event.

Aoife Barry reports from LA.

IRISH OSCAR NOMINEES and film world stars walked the ‘green carpet’ at the annual Oscar Wilde Awards event in LA last night.

Taking place at the headquarters of Bad Robot in Santa Monica – run by Star Wars: The Force Awakens director and all-round movie powerhouse JJ Abrams, and his wife, co-CEO and producer Katie McGrath – the event is a yearly pre-Oscars celebration of Irish film talent, run by the US-Ireland Alliance.

JJ Abrams told The Journal the annual event attracts “wonderful, creative people”.

When asked about Ireland’s nomination success this year and what it was down to, he said that “it’s amazing – the work was so damn good and it’s wonderful to see. The Irish are on fire and making great art, and it’s just being deservedly celebrated.”

los-angeles-usa-09th-mar-2023-an-irish-goodbye-cast-ross-white-tom-berkeley-james-martin-seamus-ohara-pearce-cullen-at-the-2023-oscar-wilde-awards-at-bad-robot-santa-monica-picture-credit The cast of An Irish Goodbye, nominated for the Best Short Film award at the Oscars. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Each year, several Irish stars are honoured at the event. The 2023 honourees were Jessie Buckley (who stars in the Oscar nominated Women Talking), Oscar nominee Kerry Condon (Banshees of Inisherin), and Eve Hewson (starring in the forthcoming Flora and Son, directed by John Carney). Irish band The Coronas jetted over to LA to perform at the event. 

The event also gave a special recognition to the Irish language film An Cailín Ciúin.

Speaking to The Journal, director Colm Bairéad said on the green carpet that the fact the film had come so far was specifically down to investment from TG4, Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

 

“We have an embarrassment of riches in Ireland in terms of acting talent – 25% of the acting nominations this year are Irish,” he added.

Bairéad said that the week of celebrations involving so many from Ireland “felt like a warm embrace”.

Producer Cleona Ní Chrúalaoi added that they’re looking forward to meeting the other directors in their Oscar category for a special panel event tomorrow. “It’s lovely just to meet other teams who are going through the same things that we are going through,” she said.

“It’s overwhelming – a bit nervous but mostly excited,” said Catherine Clinch, star of An Cailín Ciúin when asked about her journey with the film.

“I really wasn’t expecting the movie to get so many awards, and especially not Oscar nominations, I’m so excited. I’m really proud of the Irish language and especially all the Irish nominations at the Oscars.” She’s set to wear a dress by Caterina Coyne and will attend the awards with her sister, she revealed.

los-angeles-usa-09th-mar-2023-kerry-condon-at-the-2023-oscar-wilde-awards-at-bad-robot-santa-monica-picture-credit-paul-smithalamy-live-news Kerry Condon at last night's Oscar Wilde Awards. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Meanwhile, the team behind An Irish Goodbye said that it was a “very special time” to be in LA celebrating their nomination in the short film category.

Actor Seamus O’Hara told The Journal that they “feel very fortunate and feel very privileged, we’ve got a great responsibility – we’re representing our film and representing our country and our towns. We’re loving it and everyone has been so nice.”

The other star of the film, James Martin, said he believes people are connecting with the film “because it’s very funny, and I find a lot of people are connecting really well to the Irish side of it”.

Director Ross White said the film – about two estranged brothers who lose their mother – was a “light in the darkness” but also shows the gallows humour Ireland is famous for. 

IMG_7437 Trina Vargo of the US-Ireland Alliance with Oscar nominee Richard Baneham Aoife Barry Aoife Barry

Richard Baneham, who’s part of the team nominated for the visual effects work on Avatar: The Way of Water, said that this year’s Oscars was like a reprisal of when he previously won an Oscar in the category in 2009. The animator said that “at the end of the day, it’s being recognised by your peers” which is what’s so important with the Oscars – and that win or not, the nominees will see their career propelled forward. 

He’s currently working on the third Avatar movie, and said that four and five are “hot on the heels” of it. They’re moving towards delivering the movie to visual effects company Wētā FX, their partners on the film. 

After tonight’s awards, the next big event on the calendar are the Oscars themselves, which will take place on Sunday 12 March. The Journal will be reporting from the winners’ press room and liveblogging the event as it happens. 

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