By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

US-Ireland Alliance’s 10th annual Oscar Wilde Awards honors Colin Davidson, Carrie Fisher and Stephen Colbert

Wilde Night Was Calling

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2015

Last night, Colin Davidson, Carrie Fisher and Stephen Colbert were honored at the US-Ireland Alliance’s 10th annual Oscar Wilde Awards.

J.J. Abrams emceed the event, which was held for the fourth year at his Bad Robot production company in Santa Monica. J.J.’s opening remarks celebrated US-Ireland Alliance founder and president, Trina Vargo, who encouraged him to film in Ireland.

“Trina and my wife Katie McGrath — go way back to the time when they both worked for Senator Ted Kennedy. Trina kept telling Katie that we had to visit Ireland. Then she said she was making me an “honorary” Irishman so we really had to visit Ireland. Which we did, and we loved. Then when we started to hold the event here, Trina said, “It’s still not enough J.J., now I want you to film in Ireland, and not just any film, goddamnit, it needs to be STAR WARS.” Scenes for the upcoming STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS were filmed on Skellig Michael last summer.

STAR WARS producer Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, were in attendance to see Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia, receive her Oscar Wilde Award. Stephen Fry presented Fisher with her award saying, “Our honoree must be talented, witty, charming, kind, funny, intellectually daring and vulnerable with a genius for life and friendship. Who can contain all of these qualities? Only one name comes to my mind.”

Irish painter Colin Davidson was presented with his award by Garrett Kelleher. A US-Ireland Alliance advisory board member, Kelleher is also the Executive Chairman of Lightstream Entertainment. Davidson’s grand scale portraits have won widespread recognition across the world. His most recent works depict important leaders, protagonists and voices of this generation politicians, poets, writers, actors, musicians and members of the public. His painting of Seamus Heaney was the last portrait for which Heaney sat.

Davidson’s painting of Glen Hansard, auctioned for the benefit of the Alliance’s George J. Mitchell Scholarship program, brought $20,300 on the night. The scholarship, which provides Americans the opportunity to study on the island of Ireland has become one of the most, if not the most, prestigious scholarships for Americans to study abroad.

Accepting his award Davidson spoke of the impact film has had on his painting. “I’ve always had a passion for film, that’s why it is such a privilege for me to be here. It has inspired and continues to inspire my work.”

The final honoree of the evening was Stephen Colbert who will be replacing David Letterman as host of theLate Show on CBS. Colbert, whose ancestors came from Tyrone and Roscommon, was honored to receive the award, “There is no other award being given out in Los Angeles this week named after an Oscar that I would want more than this. And I’m gratified to finally be recognized for all I have done for the Irish people. I am not sure what any of that is, but now that I have the award, I know I can stop.”

Irish-British poet David Whyte recited a poem he wrote that celebrated the experience of taking a journey and choosing a path to follow, sentiments well understood by those being honored.

Irish singer/songwriters Gavin James and Megan O’Neill performed for the crowd, which included executives in the music industry. In previous years, musical acts performing at the event have achieved recording contracts and various other opportunities as a result.

Accenture was the lead sponsor of the event, which included repeat support from HBO, Morgan Stanley and Electus. The event’s planning committee includes Electus COO Drew Buckley, VP Enterprise Data Technology at The Walt Disney Company, Una Fox, and Des Carey, President of the new Resurgent Film Group. Resurgent will bring to the screen the novels of bestselling action thriller author Brad Thor.

Others in attendance included former honorees CAA agent Hylda Queally, Lionsgate Chairman Michael Burns, actress Sarah Bolger, Davis Guggenheim, Tim Murphy, Brian F. O’Byrne, Jason O’Mara, and John Cho. Irish director Stephen Bradley is in the US to promote his film NOBLE, which will soon be released in the US. Also present was Tim Dowling, screenwriter of PIXELS, the $110 million sci-fi film currently in post-production.

Oscar nominees in attendance included Paul Young, nominated for SONG OF THE SEA for Animated Feature Film; Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney, Short Film Live Action BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM; Thomas Curley, for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing for WHIPLASH; Graham Moore for Adapted Screenplay for THE IMITATION GAME; and Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois, nominated for the song Lost Stars in John Carney’s film BEGIN AGAIN. Also recognized was David Macmillan, the Northern Ireland born sound mixer is a three-time Academy Award winner. Macmillan was honored earlier in the week by the Cinema Audio Society with a career achievement award.

Vargo noted that the intent behind the event has been to forge connections between members of the creative industries in Ireland and Los Angeles. The premiere event for Irish and friends of, Vargo describes the event as a party with a purpose. Several Bad Robot, HBO, Disney and Amazon Studios execs were in attendance. Nina Jacobson, HUNGER GAMES producer was among the many producers who represented more that $2.5 billion in US domestic box office in just the last 4 years.

Part of the casual, jeans event included great Irish food with a modern twist prepared by Irish caterer Richard Mooney of Kensington Caterers. Dublin-born Deirdre O’Neill, principal of The O’Neill Group, Inc. has produced the event for the ten years. Diageo provided the Guinness, Smithwick’s and Bailey’s, Teeling provided the whiskey, and Lenox awards.

Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“With any character, the way I think about it is, you have the role on the page, you have the vision of the director and you have your life experience… I thought it was one of the foundations of the role for John Wick. I love his grief. For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
~ Keanu Reeves

“I was checking through stuff the other day for technical reasons. I came across The Duellists on Netflix and I was absolutely stunned to see that it was exquisitely graded. So, while I rarely look up my old stuff, I stopped to give it ten minutes. Bugger me, I was there for two hours. I was really fucking pleased with what it was and how the engine still worked within the equation and that engine was the insanity and stupidity of war. War between two men, in that case, who fight on thought they both eventually can’t remember the reason why. It was great, yeah. The great thing about these platforms now is that, one way or another, they’ll seek out and then put out the best possible form and the long form. Frequently, films get cut down because of that curse in which the studio felt or feels that they have to preview. And there’s nothing worse than a preview to diminish the original intent.Oh, yeah, how about every fucking time? And I’ve stewed about films later even more because when you tell the same joke 20 times the joke’s no longer funny. When you tell a bad joke once or twice? It’s fine. But come on, now. Here’s the key on the way I feel when I approach the movie: I try to keep myself as withdrawn from the project as possible once I’ve filmed it. And – this is all key on this – then getting a really excellent editor so I never have to sit in on editing. What happens if you sit in is you become stale and every passage or joke, metaphorically speaking, gets more and more tired. You start cutting it all back because of fatigue. So what you have to do is keep your distance and therefore, in a funny kind of way, you, as the director, should be the preview and that’s it.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott