Saoirse Ronan and Game of Thrones among winners of 2018 Iftas

The Irish Film and Drama awards celebrated its 15th year last night and boy, did it pull out all the stops.

Saoirse Ronan and Game of Thrones among winners of 2018 Iftas

The Irish Film and Drama awards celebrated its 15th year last night and boy, did it pull out all the stops.

Embracing its new move from April to February, to be in line with the international awards season, the night started as it meant to go on, with the clattering of camera shutters, the scent of prosecco and an overall pride that the Irish Film industry is one to be reckoned with.

Did we mention we have five Irish Oscars nods this year?

Despite the bitter cold, stars such as Fionnula Flanagan, Barry Keoghan, Amy Huberman and Liam Cunningham shone brightly as they walked the red carpet, excited for the night ahead.

Amy Huberman arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester.

Amy Huberman arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester.

Following the Golden Globes, chairwoman of the Irish Film Board Annie Donna, along with many actresses, chose to wear black in support of the #MeToo movement.

Among those was Caitriona Balfe, who decided to do so in a bid to 'keep the conversation going'.

Caitriona Balfe arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester.

Caitriona Balfe arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester.

“Nobody should be in fear of going to work,” Ms Balfe said.

“Nobody should have to give away a part of themselves to get work or feel bullied/pressured sexually - it’s just not ok”.

Ms Balfe spoke openly about how powerful she believes the movement is and said that she hoped those abusing their power are now very scared.

All eyes were on Gabriel Byrne as he arrived to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his distinguished, decades-long career in film and television.

Dublin-born Mr Byrne is one of the most recognised screen talents in Hollywood and has appeared in more than 75 feature films.

When asked how he was feeling about accepting the award tonight, Mr Byrne said, “I’m honoured, it’s really meaningful because it’s full circle for me.

“I used to deliver letters right across the street when I was working as an insurance messenger boy and to think I’d be here one day accepting an award from the President of Ireland wouldn’t have even occurred to me as a fantasy”.

Fresh from the dancefloor of RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, host Deirdre O’Kane opened the show with a tongue-in-cheek reference to criticism of the Leading Actress in a Film category.

There were only three nominees for the award, whereas all other categories featured at least five.

“What a truly extraordinary year it has been for women in this industry”, Mrs O’Kane said before name-checking a few of the actresses nominated.

“If that’s not enough about our women, as many as three have been nominated tonight in the leading actress category."

Deirdre O'Kane arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester

Deirdre O'Kane arriving on the red carpet. Photo: Michael Chester

“Three actresses, three billboards and I’m very proud to say, this is my third year hosting this ceremony, two more stamps and I’ll get a script and a female lead”.

Ms O’Kane then went on to say that she was wearing black not only in solidary with the #MeToo movement but to honour Irish icon, Maureen O’Hara.

“In an interview that she gave in 1945 she spoke about the harassment she encountered on a daily basis as she just tried to do her job.

“Maureen O’Hara didn’t live to see the moment that we are all involved in today. She spoke fearlessly and her words were dismissed, after three-quarters of a century time is definitely up”.

Charlie Murphy. Photo: G. McDonnell / VIPIRELAND.COM

Charlie Murphy. Photo: G. McDonnell / VIPIRELAND.COM

Actors such as John O' Connor, Saoirse Ronan and Charlie Murphy took home awards beating stiff competition but the room stood-still when Gabriel Byrne broke down in tears accepting his Lifetime Achievement award.

“It’s a mark of my life, I’m so deeply honoured."

WINNERS

FEATURE FILM: Michael Inside

DIRECTOR FILM: Aisling Walsh, Maudie

SCRIPTWRITER FILM: Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE - FILM: John Connors, Cardboard Gangsters

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE - FILM: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - FILM: Barry Keoghan, The Killing of a Sacred Deer

ACTRESS SUPPORTING ROLE - FILM: Victoria Smurfit, The Lears

GEORGE MORRISON FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: The Farthest

SHORT FILM – LIVE ACTION: Wave

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Late Afternoon

DRAMA: Game of Thrones

DIRECTOR – DRAMA: Dearbhla Walsh, Fargo

SCRIPTWRITER – DRAMA: Conor McPherson, Paula

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE - DRAMA: Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE - DRAMA: Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - DRAMA: Liam Cunningham, Game of Thrones

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - DRAMA: Charlie Murphy, Peaky Blinders

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Seamus McGarvey, The Greatest Showman

COSTUME DESIGN: Consolata Boyle, Victoria and Abdul

EDITING: Una Ni DhonghaIle, Three Girls

MAKE-UP HAIR: Clare Lambe & Sevlene Roddy, Into the Badlands

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Stephen McKeon, Pilgrimage

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Hand, Maudie

SOUND: Steve Fanagan, Kieran Horgan, The Farthest

VFX: Tailored Films & Bowsie Workshop, The Lodgers

Rising Star: Jacob McCarthy

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