Monday 25 May 2015

Caitlin McBride: The IFTAs are finally moving in the right, stylish direction

Published 27/02/2014 | 12:39

Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman
Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman

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.

Winner of the Best Actor Award Jack Reynor brought his new girlfriend, model Madeline Mulqueen.
Winner of the Best Actor Award Jack Reynor brought his new girlfriend, model Madeline Mulqueen.
TV presenter Lucy Kennedy wore one of the most eye-catching dresses of the evening.
Daithi O'Se attended with his new wife Rita, who wore an eye-catching purple gown.
Aine Moriarty, the CEO of IFTA and her husband Seamus Griffin arrive on the red carpet.
Glamorous actress, Fionnuala Flanagan, arriving on the red carpet, presented the award for Best Director to Lenny Abrahamson.
Sherlock actor Andrew Scott was also in attendance at the 10th annual IFTAs at the Convention Centre in Dublin.
TG4 presenter Mairead Nu Chuig chose a flattering oyster coloured silk dress on the night.
Niall Tobin arriving on the red capret, later presented the award for the George Morrison Feature Documentary to Alex Gibney's Mea Maxima Culpa.
Miriam O'Callaghan looked stunning in a teal-coloured printed dress.
Blathnaid N Choifigh showed off some leg in her little black dress with side split.
Presenter and publisher Norah Casey was glamorous in a dramatic black number.
Maura Derrane channelled old-school Hollywood glamour with her floor-sweeping fishtail gown.
Broadcaster Claire Byrne kept it elegant and chic in a black dress.
Domhnall Gleesonpicked up the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Anna Karenina.
Actress Aoibhin Garrihy kept it elegant in a long black dress with side pony tail.
Kathryn Thomas also opted for an LBD but with an embellished, Oriental style neckline.
Caroline Morahan chose a figure-hugging black dress with a statement necklace on the night.
Hollywood star John C Reillly presented the Rising Star Award to Gerard Barrett.
Love/Hate star Robert Sheenhan bucked the suit trend and opted instead for a pink coloured shirt with dickey bow.
Voice of Ireland coach Bressie was dashing in his suit.
Victoria Smurfit brought a splash of colour to the night in her Grecian-style wine-coloured dress and also showed off some serious leg bombing .
TV presenter Lorraine Keanestood out in a sea of black dresses in her flowing white gown, with gold detail on the bodice.
Actress Saoirse Ronan, who presented Jack Reynor with his Best Actor Award, was fresh and youthful in a black dress with mesh panels and white brogues.
Amanda Byram dazzled in a sparkling black dress with plunge neckline and white belt.
Actor James Nesbitt presented the award for Best Film Script to Malcolm Campbell for What Richard Did.
Director Jim Sheridan was among the many famous faces at the event.
Chris O'Dowd and David Rawle, the two stars of Moone Boy, which picked up Best Entertainment programme, joke around on the red carpet.
Colm Meaney mingled with other guests at the Convention Centre, Dublin.
Amy Huberman proved to be a most glamorous mum-to-be at last night's event.
Fans of RTE Jean Byrne's fashion-forward style were not disappointed by her choice of dress last night.
Sile Seoige arrives on the red carpet.
The two Masterchef stars, Dylan McGrath and Nick Munier, looked dapper in their suits.
Weather presenter Nuala Carey was lovely in a flattering pink dress.
Dawn O'Porter and Chris O'Dowd
TV3's Lisa Cannonwas regal in her royal blue dress with peplum detail.
Love/Hate Nidge, aka Tom Vaughan Lawlor, attendeed with his wife Claire Cox.
Karen Koster also went for a black LBD.
Love/Hate's Fran aka Peter Coonan celebrated the show's five wins.
Sinad Kennedy matched her sequin blue top to her hair.
Coronation Street Michelle Keegan pulle out all the glamour stops.
Kian Egan was dashing in his suit.
Presenter Jennifer Maguire was a lovely lady in red lace.
Musician Jack L's glamorous guest was Nicky St George Smith.
Love/Hate's Susan Loughnane mingled with other guests.
Love/Hate's Charlie Murphy kept warm in an elegant stole.
Journalist Donal MacIntyre attended with his wife Ameera De La Rosa.
Love /Hate star Aoibhinn McGinnity chose a white dress with a daring plunging back.
Reality TV star Dawn Leadon Bolger wore one of the most eye-catching dresses on the night.
Amanda Byram shows off the back detail of her dress and her great tan.
Rosanna Davison kept it pared back in an elegant black dress with plunging neckline.
Lorraine Keane cosies up on the red carpet with husband Peter Devlin.
TV3's Elaine Crowley was feeling blue.
Actress Kerry Condon chose a slinky red number.
Brendan O'Carroll and the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys pose on the red carpet.

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.

Sure, there are 'proper A-list' celebrity guests who attend each year (from Josh Hartnett to Kim Cattrall), but this year we have more big names of our own to show off.

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.

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