Many a famous face could be spotted shivering their way down the red carpet at this year’s Irish Film and Television Awards, rainclouds and Arctic chills becoming very unwanted guests indeed.
But while Hollywood A-lister Liam Neeson decided to give fans and journalists the cold shoulder ahead of the event, most attendees braved the harsh conditions to sign autographs and take photos with those gathered.
Despite the weather, this year’s ceremony, at Dublin’s Mansion House, was far from a washout.
The event, which aired on TV3 last night, attracted actors, performers and personalities such as musicians Bob Geldof and Van Morrison, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, Sherlock actor Andrew Scott and Moone Boy star Chris O’Dowd.
Other red carpet guests included Panti Bliss, Amy Huberman, Jack Reynor, and Charlie Murphy.
In terms of the awards, Neeson received the most prestigious accolade, as presented by President Michael D Higgins. Accepting an Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award, Neeson recalled early advice given to him by film legend Clint Eastwood, who told him not to overthink his role.
“Some 60-odd films since then and that’s what I try to do. I try to hit the marks and say the lines, preferably in the order in which they’re written. It seems to be going good. It seems to be working out,” he joked.
A video tribute featured directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, as well as actors Ralph Fiennes and Harrison Ford, praising Neeson’s vast body of work.
Actress and producer Roma Downey, best known for her role as Monica in TV series Touched by an Angel, received the inaugural Irish Diaspora Award from Bob Geldof.
The other big winner was Room. The Oscar-nominated flick won seven awards, including Best Film, Best Director for Lenny Abrahamson and Best Script for Emma Donoghue.
“Emma wrote a brilliant book and so what we tried to do was capture the spirit of that,” explained producer Ed Guiney.
“Quite a few people said the film made them want to go home and given their kids a hug. I thought that was really lovely.”
Cork native Sarah Greene also won big on the night, nabbing the Best Supporting Actress in Drama award for her role in Penny Dreadful.
“Awards are a funny thing. It’s a real honour but just to be nominated, to be celebrated with women that I really look up to. I just feel very honoured,” said the actress, who won the Rising Star award at the IFTAs last year. “It feels really special, I’m delighted. I wasn’t expecting it in the slightest.”
Greene dedicated the award to one of the crew members working on Penny Dreadful who tragically died from an illness last week.
“When you go on a shoot you’re away from home a lot and you become a family. Sadly we lost one of our family last week so I’m a bit emotional right now,” she explained. “Joe, one of our drivers, passed away. We’re burying him on Monday so I want to dedicate this award to him.”
In other acting categories, Michael Fassbender won Best Lead Actor in a Film for Steve Jobs, while Saoirse Ronan won Best Lead Actress in a Film for Brooklyn.
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