Monday 21 May 2018

Irish stars jet into La-La Land to launch invasion of the Oscars

Party time in Hollywood as hopes high for glory, writes Kirsty Blake Knox in Los Angeles

O’Dowd, Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon, and Victoria Smurfit. Picture: Elaine Lee
O’Dowd, Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon, and Victoria Smurfit. Picture: Elaine Lee
Main: Jonathan Loughran of the Ireland Funds, Barry O’Dowd of the IDA, Colin Farrell, Aisha Tyler, Michelle Loughran (IDA), James Hickey of the Irish Film Board. Picture: Elaine Lee
Chris O’Dowd and Caroline Morahan. Picture: Elaine Lee
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

It's the final countdown to the 90th Academy Awards, and preparations in La-La Land are well under way.

On Wednesday morning, the 900ft-long red carpet was unfurled outside the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Bleachers for Oscar fanatics to sit carpet-side are being constructed and press pits cornered off. And, of course, there are the legendary goodie bags crammed full of wonderful and weird gifts.

Over 3,000 people will take their seats inside the theatre, while 33 million American viewers will tune into the glitziest and most prestigious awards show of them all on Sunday night.

Obviously this year, the mood surrounding the Oscars is rather different. No one could have predicted how swiftly Hollywood's old guard would come crashing down following allegations about former Tinseltown titan Harvey Weinstein.

The #TimesUp movement undoubtedly will be at the forefront of the ceremony and a hot topic of conversation.

The Irish nominees have started jetting into the City of Stars - albeit to varying degrees of success.

Last night, in West Hollywood's chic Ysabel restaurant, The Ireland Funds toasted a congratulatory dinner for all the Irish nominees.

Unfortunately, however, Cartoon Saloon's Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey were absent due to the wrath of the Beast from the East.

Both have now touched down in LA and so will be able to attend the big event on Sunday.

Barry Keoghan was also due to attend but his flight was cancelled due to the extreme weather.

But there was still plenty of sparkle and plenty to celebrate at The Ireland's Funds bash. This year, in particular, we have a lot to shout about. Saoirse Ronan is up for Best Actress for her role in 'Lady Bird'; Consolata Boyle has been nominated for Best Costume Design; Martin McDonagh's 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' has secured seven nominations; Daniel Day Lewis is nominated for Best Actor for his final role in 'Phantom Thread'; and Cartoon Saloon's 'The Breadwinner' has got the nod in the Best Animated Feature category.

'Killing of the Sacred Deer' star Colin Farrell arrived at the Irish party and sang the praises of our latest rising star in Hollywood, Barry Keoghan, as well as Oscar nominee Martin McDonagh, with whom he worked on 'In Bruges'.

In a few months, Farrell will receive The Ireland Funds Performing Arts Award at the organisation's annual New York Gala, the largest of The Ireland Funds' global events. Dawn Porter was in attendance, while Irish actress Victoria Smurfit and Boyle native Chris O'Dowd were on hosting duties for the night, and welcomed the crowd before chatting to Cartoon Saloon's Paul Young about the company's Oscar-nominated film 'The Breadwinner'.

Last night, more Irish producers, actors and directors gathered at JJ Abrams's Bad Robot production company for the 13th annual Oscar Wilde party.

All around Hollywood, dozens of gifting rooms and pre-Oscar parties are taking place. Freebies, it would appear, are one of the perks of taking part in the awards season. This week, the contents of the unofficial 'Everyone Wins' Oscar goodie bag was revealed.

Worth more than $100,000, it includes holidays to Hawaii, Zanzibar and Greece, a 'conflict-free' diamond necklace and even gum-rejuvenation surgery.

Irish Independent

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