Ruth feels nerves as green carpet rolled out for Irish stars at pre-Oscars bash
Glen Hansard is very relieved not to be in Ruth Negga's shoes this weekend. The singer who won a Best Song Oscar in 2008 for his original song 'Falling Slowly' wished his fellow nominee in this year's Oscar the best of luck at the annual Oscar Wilde celebration in Los Angeles on Thursday, but was feeling no envy at the rollercoaster she is on.
"It's great to be in LA in the midst of all the Oscar madness and excitement, but not for the nerves that go with it," said Hansard in his speech after being presented with his own Oscar Wilde award by Cameron Crowe.
It was an uncharacteristically cold night at JJ Abrams's Bad Robot HQ in Santa Monica, where some of the brightest stars in the Hollywood galaxy turned out for the annual bash. Among those who came and stayed and danced were Diane Keaton, Lorne Michaels, Sarah Paulson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Hamm, Terry George, Kyle MacLachlan and Amy Huberman.
Actors Martin Short and Zachary Quinto were honoured at the event, as were Caitriona Balfe and Ruth Negga. Martin Short, whose family comes from Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, and who was introduced by his close friend actress Catherine O'Hara, gave the funniest speech of the night.
"Of all of my fake Hollywood friends, I feel fake closest to JJ Abrams. I'm really happy to be here, or is that the Xanax and Vicodin talking?" he joked.
He talked fondly about spending long summers with his cousins in Crossmaglen every year and how it had inspired him and others in his family to stay true to their dreams and visions.
"It's better to have loved a Short than never to have loved at all," he punned.
Zachary Quinto, who lived in Galway for a year, where he worked as a waiter, considers what happened to him in his Irish experience the catalyst for having the courage to come out as gay and to decide to commit to pursuing acting full time. He quoted his idol Oscar Wilde repeatedly, reminding the audience of the humiliation Wilde endured for his homosexuality.
"It's only 120 years since Wilde was subjected to the horrors which he had to endure publicly. Now, we must all stand up for trans-gender people for the same reasons of dignity," he said.
Quinto told the crowd he had named his production Wallpaper Goes, after the apocryphal last words of Oscar Wilde on his death bed.
Caitriona Balfe, who has been nominated for a Bafta and two Golden Globes, was introduced by JJ Abrams who directed her in her first movie 'Super Eight'.
She spoke of growing up in a house that didn't have a television for years and in Monaghan town which didn't have a cinema.
The former model has made a huge success of her transition into acting with significant roles such as opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts in last year's 'Money Monster'.
"Luck has been the key ingredient in any success I've had and we Irish seem to have patented luck," she said.
Ruth Negga seemed nervous and spoke only very briefly as she accepted her award. In reference to the character which she plays in her Oscar-nominated role in 'Loving', she made a plea for tolerance.
"It's a very prescient time for us all to find our voices," she said.
Delicious Irish food including lamb stew, salmon and Irish cheeses were served throughout the night with plentiful Guinness and Baileys also flowing. It's the 12th year of this very popular, exclusive party which each year showcases emerging musical talent.
Glen Hansard was joined on-stage after the awards by LA based musician Colin Devlin.
Northern Ireland was also represented at the event. Roma Downey was there, as was Paula Malcomson and Irish designer Don O'Neill
Meanwhile, the former fiancé of Oscar nominee Ruth Negga has heaped praise on the actress ahead of the 89th Academy Awards.
Irish actor Tadhg Murphy met Ruth when they were both studying drama in Trinity College Dublin.
The pair began dating while they were still in university and got engaged several years later.
They remain good friends and Murphy, who will next appear in the Abbey Theatre's staging of Ballyturk, said he was "over the moon" when he heard Ruth had got the nod from the academy.
"Ruth is amazing, she is f**king phenomenal and I was over the moon when I heard she had been nominated," he told the Irish Independent.
"She so deserves it. She is an incredible actress."
Ruth will attend the glitzy awards ceremony on Sunday evening with her partner Dominic Cooper - who she has been dating for over six years. The couple live together in London.
The 89th Academy Awards takes place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on Sunday February 26, 2017, at approximately 1.30am Irish time.