The US-Ireland Alliance celebrated the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday night at Bad Robot in Santa Monica.
Emceed by J.J. Abrams, the evening’s honorees were Aidan Gillen, Chris O’Dowd and Glenn Close, and Irish band VINCI performed on the night.
J.J., who just wrapped principal photography for STAR WARS Episode IX, kicked off the night in support of investigative journalism.
Trevor Birney, the producer of No Stone Unturned, was in attendance – and J.J. noted that Birney and journalist Barry McCaffrey were arrested in Northern Ireland in relation to their important documentary about murders that occurred in Northern Ireland in 1994.
The pair recently won permission in the High Court in Belfast to challenge the legality of the search warrants, and J.J. said in his speech, “Now more than ever, investigative journalists need to be supported.”
The famed producer also told guests that when they see US-Ireland Alliance president Trina Vargo, they should ask her about how, “she is single-handedly taking on the Irish Prime Minister in the fight for women’s rights and equality”.
Allen Leech, who is in Bohemian Rhapsody with honoree Aidan Gillen, introduced his fellow Irishman by noting his Tony nomination, his memorable role as Baltimore mayor Tommy Carcetti in HBO’s The Wire, Lord Baelish in Game of Thrones, and his current roles in BBC’s Peaky Blinders and the History Channel’s UFO show, Project Blue Book.
During his acceptance speech, Aidan spoke of the importance of America, and particularly HBO, in his career and said, “this is as exciting to me as getting an Oscar Oscar.”
Previous Oscar Wilde Award honoree Melissa McCarthy presented Glenn Close with her award, jokingly casting doubt on Close’s “sketchy” Irish heritage.
In accepting her award, Glenn said she is Irish in her heart, and she spoke of how she adored her time in Ireland making Albert Nobbs by saying “it was one of the greatest experiences of my career.”
The actress, who has been tipped to win the Oscar for Best Actress this weekend for her role in The Wife, also joked that she and co-star Janet McTeer used to love to go into the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, dressed in character, and got a big kick out of “being so repellent.”
In presenting Chris O’Dowd with his award, J.J. Abrams highlighted the actor’s prolific and varied career – and joked that he was “delighted to live out a life dream” of his to present an Oscar Wilde Award to the “painfully affable” Chris O’Dowd.
Chris was his usual funny self, but then got serious as he said he was “painfully aware that my journey from home to here has been immeasurably smoothed by the color of my skin and the contents of my purse.”
He continued, “To witness the bombardment of terms like border wall, caravan and separation camps breaks my heart. I’m reminded of Oscar’s words – ‘the world’s a stage, but the play is badly cast.’”
“My humble advice to those in the lead roles, to paraphrase our friend J.J. – ‘Please, I beg you, act better.’ Your children are watching. And for those with names like Hannity, O’Reilly, Mulvaney, Pence, Bannon and Conway, I’d like to remind you that your immigrant ancestors are listening and you’re making their ears bleed.
“Well-chosen words can garnish your life with immortality. Remember where you came from or you’ll be long forgotten. Choose better words or choose different roles,” he added.
Other previous honorees on hand for the event included Paula Malcomsom, Lionsgate Vice Chairman, Michael Burns, Sarah Bolger, and CAA agent and US-Ireland Alliance Advisory Board member, Hylda Queally.
Academy Award nominees Ed Guiney, Robbie Ryan and Peter Devlin were on hand, as were Nicole Holofcener, Kathy Griffin, Kerry Condon, Eoin Macken, Jason O’Mara, Victoria Smurfit, Simon Quarterman, Nora-Jane Noone, Victor Burke, Tara Flynn, Wunmi Musaku, Rick Famuyiwa, and John Cho.
Numerous industry execs were in attendance including Peter Roth, President and CCO of Warner Bros. Television Group; producer Jenno Topping; YouTube’s Global Head of Original Programming Susanne Daniels; several HBO execs including Casey Bloys, and several CAA agents including Managing Partner Kevin Huvane.
The always eclectic guest list included Amanda Nguyen, founder of Rise; fashion designers Don O’Neill and JC Obando; and former golf champion and golf course designer Tom Weiskopf.
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