Caitlin McBride: The IFTAs are finally moving in the right, stylish direction
Published 27/02/2014 | 12:39
The IFTAs are on the verge of something truly spectacular, something rarely achieved in pop culture - the transition from laughing stock to serious ceremony with street cred to boot.
When the 'Irish Oscars' were introduced 11 years ago, it received, as expected, equal praise and criticism.
The latter of which has haunted it to this day.
We have a tendency to begrudge, to mock and to point fingers - many of us are guilty of jumping at the chance to bring someone back down to Earth, especially the elusive 'Irish celebrity'.
And surely, hipsters everywhere die a little inside when they see satin dresses and bling dominate the red carpet and subsequent media coverage of the IFTAs.
But this year marks a turning point - one which exclusively showcases some of our legitimate creative talent.
In fact, I didn't have google any nominees this year, which is surely a move in the right direction.
The common denominator among this year's nominees is international recognition.
This year's nominations (see here for full list) feature the highest calibre of acting talent yet. It also boasts more Irish onscreen and behind-the-scenes names working on the international stage than seen before.
Victoria Smurfit on NBC's Dracula, Michelle Fairley on HBO's Game of Thrones, Allen Leech on ITV's Downton Abbey - for once, the list really does go on.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's portrayal of Nidge in Love/Hate has long been unparalleled, but this year, he's up against Jamie Dornan in The Fall, Gabriel Byrne in Quirke and Chris O'Dowd in Moone Boy - all of whom would be considered out-of-this-world talent by any standard.
Those who are lucky enough to have made it abroad will receive their nods at the SAGs, Golden Globes and if they're truly lucky, the Oscars (Michael Fassbender and Colin Farrell are case in point).
But what about the productions made by the Irish, for the Irish? Love/Hate, Amber and the Ronan O'Gara documentary are just some of this year's nominees which proved to be heavy hitters in Irish entertainment over the last 12 months.
None of which, despite their high standard, are popular abroad.
Jack Reynor, who has wrapped filming Transformers 4 and was recently linked to the latest Star Wars instalment is expected to attend - that's proper A-list isn't it?
Michael Fassbender is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and is also believed to be on the RSVP list, as is Jamie Dornan (you may know him better as Christan Grey) and then there's Saoirse Ronan and Fionnuala Flanagan - all of whom have global name recognition.
And let's face it, when it comes to fashion - we all love to have a gawk.
Whether it's to admire or mock, the fashion police are out in force every morning after the night before.
It's become the ultimate showcase for Irish designers to have their pieces seen on the red carpet in the otherwise red-carpetless country that is Ireland (excluding the VIP Style Style Awards).
Dawn Fitzgerald, Marion Murphy-Cooney and Louise Kennedy are just some of the names who have become synonymous with black tie attire.
And any red carpet obsessive who pretends they won't be checking to see what Amy Huberman (and potentially BOD) is wearing, is a liar.