Many of Ireland’s Oscar hopefuls gathered at a special Irish-themed party in Los Angeles last night as fever pitch grows in the countdown to Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards.
But man-of-the-moment Paul Mescal was a no show at the Oscar Wilde event.
The Maynooth actor, who is nominated in the Best Actor category for ‘Aftersun’, had attended a similar Vanity Fair red-carpet event with his two siblings on Wednesday night but another commitment last night led him to withdrawing.
Once again the function organised by the US-Ireland Alliance was held at the headquarters of production company Bad Robot in the seaside enclave of Santa Monica.
It is owned by film power couple JJ Abrams, the heavyweight director who brought ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to Ireland, and his producer wife Katie McGrath.
American-born Abrams said “Ireland is on fire this year”.
“The fun is celebrating people of Irish descent and from Ireland here, that’s always fun and to have so many nominees makes it that much more fun as it’s nice to see all that work recognised,” he said on the ‘green carpet’.
He also confirmed he will be returning to Ireland shortly to make a new series about U2.
“I cannot wait to get back to shoot about the band U2 in Ireland,” he told us. “I can’t talk too much about it, it’s for Netflix, it’s a series.”
This year’s Oscar Wilde honourees were Academy Awards nominee Kerry Condon (‘Banshees of Inisherin’), Eve Hewson (recently seen in TV’s ‘Bad Sisters’) and Jessie Buckley (‘Wilde Rose’).
Thurles native Condon, who is nominated as Best Actress and won in the same category at the recent BATA awards, initially donned the ‘green carpet’ and spoke to a couple of TV crews before making her way inside for the main event.
Kerry woman Buckley wore an all-white ensemble which highlighted her fiery red hair.
Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson was also ushered past most of the waiting press. But she did say manage to say a few words.
“I’m so so proud I could sing the national anthem,” she beamed.
In her acceptance speech afterwards as ‘Wild Card’ honouree she poked fun at her dad "for building such a privileged life for me and my siblings that we are almost impossible to like”.
She joked: “Thank God we’re not tall, or we would all be models – and everyone would really, really f**king hate us.”
Also present were the main cast members and also the writers and makers of the Northern Ireland set ‘An Irish Goodbye’, which is nominated in the Best Short Film category.
Among those at the 17th annual Oscar Wilde bash were actors Seamus O’Hara and James Martin, who play two estranged brothers battling to either sell or hang on to their farm after the death of their mother.
Its director Ross White noted: “We shot all the place, we shot in Co Derry, we shot in Co Down and we shot a little bit in Antrim as well, so three locations.”
Dubliner Richie Baneham who is nominated in the Best Visual Effects category for his work in ‘Avatar: The Way Of The Water’ movie, also attended. He previously won an Oscar for his work in the first Avatar flick.
“I think it (the new one) is just as good, it’s an ensemble cast so it presents a different problem for us, which is a much broader spectrum of visual effects- as far characters are concerned that needed to be dealt with, but it was a healthy and heart undertaking but well enjoyed,” he said.
Much of the cast and makers of ‘An Cailin Ciuin’ were also delighted to go to the event, including young star Caitríona Clinse (Catherine Clinch) as well as Carrie Crowley and Andrew Bennett.
“It’s a story about family really and the unfortunate reality that your biological family isn’t necessarily where you always find your happiness or your certainly about yourself or who you can be,” said its Dublin-born director Colm Bairéad.
He admits it’s a thrill to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language category.
“We are the first Irish language feature film ever to be nominated yeah, so we are very proud of that as Irish speakers ourselves and as people who have been making various different programmes and documentaries for television in Irish over the years, it means a great deal to us,” he stressed.
The Coronas played at the $2500 a ticket party, with other attendees including Sarah Bolger, Jason Patrick, Jared Harris, Samantha Mumba, Kevin Ryan, Eoin Macken, Roma Downey, Fig O’Reilly, Ram Charan, Arts Minister Catherine Martin and US Ireland Alliance boss Trina Vargo.
The Oscars take place on Sunday night, with Ireland having a record 14 nominations.