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IFTAs were a cringeworthy disgrace, says veteran Brenda Fricker

Oscar-winner Fricker angry at 'unprofessional kids'

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Published 15/02/2012 | 06:14

Brenda Frickers pictured at the IFTAs at the weekend
Brenda Frickers pictured at the IFTAs at the weekend
Keith McErlean pictured in the Moët & Chandon Green Room at the 9th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards, which took place in The Convention Centre Dublin on Saturday, 11th February 2012 . Photo: Anthony Woods
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: The Red Carpet, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Jennifer Maguire
Michael Fassbender with President Michael D Higgins at the IFTAs in Dublin.
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: The Red Carpet, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Emmett J Scanlan & Charlie Cassanova cast
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: The Red Carpet, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Brenda Fricker, Michael Fassbender
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: Award Winners, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Chris O'Dowd
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: Award Winners, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Justin Healy, Brendan O'Carroll, Jenny O'Carroll
Guests at The IFTA 2012 Awards: Award Winners, The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland - 11.02.12. Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Fionnula Flanagan

OSCAR-winning actress Brenda Fricker has launched a stinging attack on last weekend's award ceremony for Ireland's film and television stars, saying she was left "cringing in her seat".

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Ms Fricker (66) was introduced to the television cameras as one of the major stars attending the Irish Film and Television Awards at Dublin's Convention Centre on Saturday night.

But the 'My Left Foot' star yesterday described the event as "badly organised" and "mind blowingly, numbingly boring".

Asked if she had enjoyed the awards, Ms Fricker said: "No, I hated it. It was mind blowingly, numbingly boring. It was a mess. Badly organised. I was cringing in my seat."

Ms Fricker told the Irish Independent that the presenting duo of 'Raw' actor Keith McErlean and 'Republic Of Telly' star Jennifer Maguire -- who gave out a number of industry awards -- were "disgraceful".

"The people who were presenting it were disgraceful," she said.

"Those young people got everything wrong. The boy couldn't remember to say who the nominees were -- he got it wrong every time.

"The music was off, and late, because he didn't say his cues. It was a mess. I was cringing in my seat. It was badly organised and the room was full of people who could have gotten up and done it perfectly.

"Why didn't they get them to do it? Instead of two kids who didn't know what they were doing, and didn't know how to use an autocue. It was very unprof-essional".

Ms Fricker said she left the event early after "saying hello" to President Michael D Higgins.

She had been nominated for an IFTA on the night -- in the category of actress in a supporting role film for 'Albert Nobbs' -- but lost out to fellow actress Fionnula Flanagan in 'The Guard'.

A spokeswoman for IFTA declined to comment to the Irish Independent last night on Ms Fricker's remarks.

But the veteran actress was more than happy with the red carpet rolled out for her at Leopardstown Park Hospital in Dublin yesterday for the launch of an outreach programme, 'Picture House'.

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) describe it as a new initiative to bring the magic of cinema to people who would otherwise be unable to take part in the festival.

And yesterday saw elderly residents glammed up in tuxedos, tiaras and glitter to watch a screening of Gene Kelly classic 'Singing In the Rain'.

"This is such a good idea, so it's a real pleasure to be here doing this," said Ms Fricker, who warmly greeted residents before and after the film in her role as patron.

Elaine Flanagan, director of nursing at Leopardstown Park Hospital, said the presence of Ms Fricker -- whose role as writer Christy Brown's mother in film 'My Left Foot' saw her win an Oscar -- had delighted the residents.

"When you have someone of the calibre of Brenda Fricker coming in, it makes everyone feel valued and that is very important to us," Ms Flanagan said.

"Because we focus on the holistic model of care and our residents are extremely important to us."

One resident, Mary Sherridan (83), originally from Blackrock, Dublin, revealed it was her first visit to the cinema in nearly 50 years.

"Isn't technology wonderful? Now the movies are being brought to us," said Ms Sherridan.

In previous years the JDIFF organised screenings everywhere from hospitals to prisons. This year they are taking film to residents of 10 Care of the Elderly Centres around Dublin.

Each care centre will screen a handful of classic films -- including 'On the Waterfront' -- alongside a handpicked selection of Irish short films from the last 10 years of the festival, introduced by the film makers themselves. Each screening comes with a side order of ice cream, courtesy of HB.

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