Tuesday 28 January 2020

A missing dress, Neeson tributes and Geldof on form: a vintage year for the Iftas

Natalie Dormer Photo: Stephen Collins
Natalie Dormer Photo: Stephen Collins
Sarah Greene Photo: Michael Chester
Liam Neeson Photo: Michael Chester
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Oscar winners, leading ladies and matinee idols were all upstaged at the Iftas when President Michael D took to the stage to deliver his speech.

President Higgins, who was presenting Liam Neeson with the Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award, paid his very own tribute to the actor by doing his very best 'Taken' impersonation and praising Neeson's "very particular set of skills".

A slimmed-down Neeson, who has shed pounds for his role in Scorsese's film 'Silence', accepted his award and called for those in Dáil Éireann to invest more money in the film industry - once they've actually managed to form a government.

The annual Irish Film and Television Awards took place in the historic Round Room of the Mansion House on Saturday night.

'Sherlock' star Andrew Scott, Amy Huberman, Victoria Smurfit, Orla Brady, Natalie Dormer, and Chris O'Dowd all scrubbed up for the event.

The big winner was 'Room' which picked up seven awards, including best film, best director, best screenplay, and best score. Writer Emma Donoghue had flown in from Nice for the ceremony, and brought her children up on stage to accept her gong.

"It's the first awards ceremony they've been to," she said. "They are sick of hearing me talk about red carpets, so I said I would bring them along."

It wasn't a hit with the critics but RTÉ's 'Rebellion' managed to pick up a rake of nominations - although only one award.

Cork actress Sarah Greene looked slightly flustered after her red carpet dress went AWOL.

"I don't want to talk about it or I'll start to cry," she said. "I got this jumpsuit at 4pm in A Store Is Born on Clarendon Street. It's been a very stressful day."

Thankfully, the evening improved for Greene when she picked up the award for best supporting actress for her role in 'Penny Dreadful'.

Deirdre O'Kane was on hosting duties, and spoke of the high standard of Irish films. "Unlike Conor McGregor, the film industry is punching above its weight," she quipped.

Producer Roma Downey received the Irish Diaspora Award, presented to her by musician Bob Geldof.

The Boomtown Rats frontman was in flying form on the red carpet and talked about moving back to Ireland and his daughters Fifi and Pixie's upcoming weddings.

"They're all getting married," he said. "They're mad for it. It's f**king terrible, just having girls."

Surprise guest of the night had to be Van Morrison, who usually shuns this sort of luvvie get-together.

Irish Independent

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