ACTOR Brendan Gleeson last night described how he woke up with an award-winning hangover after beating off competition from acting heavyweights to capture a coveted Emmy.
Gleeson and Irish director Dearbhla Walsh took home two of the US television industry’s most prized trophies - and seemed genuinely shocked to be chosen.
The Dublin-born actor said: “I woke up this morning with a sore head and a statue - how good can it get.”
He described the experience as “a perfect night”.
“I'm absolutely thrilled - and looking forward to getting back home to Ireland.”
Gleeson won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or a Movie award for his role as Winston Churchill in ‘Into the Storm'. He appeared equally humbled after beating Sir Ian McKellen, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Kline, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland to the top spot.
A beaming Gleeson said: “There's a turn-up for the books,” when he accepted the award.
He thanked the producers of ‘Into the Storm’ for “allowing his mam and dad to see a first cut of this before my mam died.”
The phones didn’t stop ringing all day yesterday at the home of Dearbhla Walsh from Tubbercurry, Co Sligo. She was the talk of her home town after she scooped the Best Director in a Mini-Series prize for the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic period drama ‘Little Dorrit'.
“We've been inundated with phone calls and visits and texts, all with good wishes,” her father Joe Walsh told the Irish Independent last night.
And locals are already planning a homecoming party for the talented director.
“We rang her and were lucky enough to get her as the show ended,” said Joe Walsh. “She still couldn't believe it.
We congratulated her and told he we we're very proud of her.” Dearbhla also revealed her astonishment at winning the television equivalent of an Oscar at the Los Angeles Nokia Theatre on Sunday night.
“Suddenly they called my name and there was a stammer and it was like that mortifying moment, ‘Oh my God, they've got it wrong,' and then the camera panned and everyone looked and it was ‘Oh my God, it was me,” she said on RTE radio.
The awards night – featuring many of Hollywood's top stars from the big and small screens – almost ended in a hat trick for Irish talent. But Gabriel Byrne missed out on an Emmy for his role as psychotherapist Paul Weston in ‘In Treatment'.
Despite losing out for the second year in a row, he graciously grabbed Dearbhla's hand as she made her way to the podium to congratulate her with a hearty “well done Dearbhla”.
Gleeson last night said he was thrilled to carry the flag for ‘Into the Storm’ - and he accepted his award on behalf of the entire team of writers, director and cast.
“It wouldn't have happened without Teri Hayden and Larry Taube - and I'd like to thank them for their friendship and advice. Also Consolata Boyle, the costume designer, whom I meant to mention last night.
Gleeson paid tribute to his dialect coach Joan Washington for working on his Dublin accent saying “as you can imagine it was something of a challenge”.
“Thanks again to HBO and all the producers for the constant support of this film. I hope this attention help garners a similar interest in our side of the world when it airs later this year.”