Irish hopes riding high as celebs get set for the glitz and glamour of Oscars night

We can only guess who the winners will be but we are guaranteed plenty of style from our fashion-conscious stars, writes Joyce Fegan

Tomorrow night, at approximately 10pm Irish time, the stars of Hollywood will begin walking the Oscars red carpet.

For Irish people there is a lot to hope for with five nominees across multiple categories: Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress in Lady Bird; Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor in Phantom Thread; The Breadwinner — directed by Cork woman Nora Twomey — is nominated for Best Animated Feature; Consolata Boyle for Best Costume Design for Victoria and Abdul; and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has earned itself nominations in six categories including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

While we will have to wait until at least 1.30am on Monday morning to see who the winners are, we have gone behind the scenes to see how our stars have been preparing for the awards — from what they are wearing to receiving exotic trips to Tanzania and Hawaii in their goodie bags.

We can expect Saoirse Ronan, who has so far favoured brands such Gucci, Atelier Versace and Rodarte for awards ceremonies, to be “edgier” and “a little bit more editorial”.

Her stylist Elizabeth Saltzman, who styled Gwyneth Paltrow in the white crepe Tom Ford gown for the 2012 awards, just wants Saoirse to feel “happy”,

“I want [Saoirse] to feel the most beautiful she’s felt,” Ms Saltzman told Vogue magazine on Thursday. “I want her to feel happy and genuinely love her look. I always want people to feel better.”

While the 23-year-old actress’s red carpet dress will be kept tightly under wraps until she steps out in front of cameras tomorrow night, Saoirse’s stylist has given some clues into what we can expect from the three-time Oscar nominee.

“For me with Saoirse on this run it was, she didn’t want to wear ‘just another pretty dress’. She wanted to be a little bit edgier. She wanted to be a little bit more true to herself. She wanted to be a little bit more editorial, that was her actual word (editorial).

“You know — not so safe, not another perfect sparkly thing and you can push it so far but she also doesn’t want to do fashion, fashion, fashion, where it’s something that is incomprehensible to the public, she wants to do that for editorial (magazines). That makes sense and it’s very wise and smart and she just wants to feel good out there,” Ms Saltzman said.

As for costume designer Consolata Boyle, who has also been nominated three times, her agent informed the Irish Examiner that she is unable to attend this year’s Oscars.

“We’re very excited for Consolata. Unfortunately however, she’s not going to be able to attend the awards due to her current film commitments, which is such a shame but her schedule’s just a bit frantic, and she’ll be in Europe, so too far away,” Ms Boyle’s agent said.

For Cork director, Nora Twomey, who is attending the awards and left Ireland as the snowstorm hit on Wednesday, she has chosen to work with Irish designer Laura Jayne Halton, who has plenty of red carpet experience.

Ms Halton told the Irish Examiner that the director’s custom-made gown is all about elegance: “It is an immense honour to dress Nora Twomey for the 90th Academy Awards. It was fantastic to work with such an inspirational woman and she was a great muse to inspire this very special piece. It was created with careful consideration and the result is a sophisticated and refined gown that embodies elegance and the signature design elements that I ground my work on.”

While she is sworn to secrecy about her exact design that is about to be worn on a world stage, she did reveal some more details.

“I wanted to use a very classic colour, with sculptural elements that enhanced the timeless silhouette of the gown and make it completely unique. As Nora comes from a creative background she had a strong understanding of the process and work that goes into creating a custom gown and that’s something that I really appreciated.

“I worked with Kilkenny-based fine jewellery designer Rudolf Heltzel to select one of his beautiful pieces and incorporate the style of it into the design of the neckline so the whole look was unified,” Ms Halton said.

Sunday night will be the Irish designer’s third night on the Oscars red carpet following Academy Award-nominated producer, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, in 2013 and LA director Kathleen Davison in 2017.

“I feel very privileged to have my work represented on the most prestigious red carpet in the world. It is a momentous milestone and I wish Nora and all the amazing team behind the creation of The Breadwinner the very best of luck in LA on Sunday,” she added.

While neither Martin McDonagh’s nor Daniel Day Lewis’ spokespersons returned queries for information about their attendance, guests or attire for tomorrow night, we do know some of the freebies that have already been handed out.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not itself endorse or provide these gift bags — they are independently produced by an American company called Distinctive Assets and are delivered to select nominees in the week leading up to the Oscars.

The “swag bag” as it is called, contains a 12-night Tanzania adventure package for two and a seven-day Hawaiian escape to a luxury ocean-view villa, and it was delivered to nominees in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director categories.

The bag also includes pieces from Irish company Liwu Jewellery, owned by Aine Breen in Co Wexford, who creates Celtic-inspired jewellery using Chinese calligraphy.

From Irish products in the most-coveted goodie bag in the world to our designs walking the red carpet and a host of nominations in so many categories, luck already seems to be on our side for the 90th Academy Awards.


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