All about 'Love/Hate' when it comes to mingling with stars on the red carpet

Mon, Feb 13, 2012, 00:00

The Dublin Docklands shone with stars at the Irish Film and Television Academy awards

IT WAS a Love/Hatekind of evening at the Convention Centre Dublin on Saturday for the ninth annual Irish Film and Television Academy (Ifta) awards. The crime series written by Stuart Carolan, who took the television writing gong for the second year in a row, landed six other awards including Best Drama, Best Director, Best Editor and Best Actor.

So it was apt that Mrs Brown’s Boys,the sitcom people either love/hate, also scored an Ifta for Best Entertainment Programme.

Its creator and star Brendan O’Carroll was in flying form on the red carpet where guests were allowed one glass of champagne before venturing into the alcohol-free awards ceremony.

Don’t feel too sorry for them. A few hours later the champers was flowing again during the after-show dinner, where guests dined on chicken and apricot ballotine and quail.

Wearing an acid green bow tie and a suit he said he hired for €38, O’Carroll said the show’s massive success at home and in the UK showed that comedies “do well in a recession”. Asked what he would say to people who don’t think the programme is funny, the Mensa member replied, “I’d say ‘f . . . them’, that’s what remote controls were designed for.”

As usual the awards, hosted by Simon Delaney, offered a smorgasbord of homegrown and international showbiz talent from the ubiquitous to the deliciously random with a sprinkling of A-list interest. It was a one-size-fits-all red carpet welcoming everyone from RTÉ reality show winners ICA Bootcampto Oscar winners such as Brenda Fricker. The distinct lack of TV3 personalities was put down to that station’s on-again, off-again boycotting of the awards.

The red carpet chatter was eclectic. As skyscraper Louboutins pockmarked the 400sq m of red carpet, one TV3 star did turn up.

The Apprentice’sBill Cullen revealed that his much discussed “first Irish man in space” adventure will happen within a year. “Richard Branson has told me to be ready,” he said.

Dana Delany, formerly of Desperate Housewives, confided her Prada dress was from “my own closet”, while Niall “Bressie” Breslin from The Voice of Irelandsaid that his reality show was different to X Factor. “There is no snots and bawling,” he said.

German-born Kerry man Michael Fassbender caused the biggest flurry on arrival, distracting even from the entrance of President Michael D Higgins. Fassbender won the Best Actor Ifta for Shamein which he frequently appears naked as reporters on the red carpet couldn’t resist reminding him.

Wearing Armani, Fassbender was responsible for a serious giggling outbreak among female reporters who were so thrown by his proximity and good looks that one inquired: “How did you lose so much weight for Hunger?” To which Fassbender replied with a grin: “By not eating”.

Also causing a stir was the star of the IT Crowdand hit US comedy Bridesmaids,Co Roscommon actor Chris O’Dowd accompanied by his fiance the English TV presenter and writer Dawn Porter. O’Dowd won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Bridesmaidsbeating Brendan Gleeson from Albert Nobbsand Liam Cunningham from The Guardwhich took a clutch of other awards including Best Film and Best Director for John Michael McDonagh.

“It’s my first one,” said O’Dowd, looking swish in a Louis Vuitton suit and dress shoes. “I haven’t won anything since UCD: that was best kisser award and I’m still pretty good, by the way.”

Brian O’Driscoll gave up what would have been an uneventful night in front of the TV, with the cancellation of the rugby match in Paris, to support his wife Amy Huberman who wore a 1940s’ style white gown by Joan Fitzgerald. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress she lost out to Fionnula Flanagan who won for The Guard.

Michael D Higgins seemed delighted to be presenting a Lifetime Achievement award to LA-based Flanagan. After her win the always elegant Flanagan reflected on the early days of her career when she was thrown out of the Abbey Theatre school but said we’d have to “read the book” to find out why it happened.

Earlier, Miriam O’Callaghan, wearing a red lace dress made for her by Tipperary designer Marion Murphy-Cooney, had said she was “rooting” for the Prime Time Investigatesteam. Referring to the controversy over the defamatory programme, she said, “We made a catastrophic error. Most of the time we make very good programmes but that’s not to deny when we totally get it wrong”.

Prime Time Investigates: The Home Care Scandalwon the Best Current Affairs/News award.

Ifta regular Saoirse Ronan wasn’t available to pick up her Best Actress award for Hanna– her actor father Paul Ronan did the honours – but Ruth Negga shimmered in a sequinned Joanne Hynes skirt and vest top after winning Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Shirley Bassey in Shirley. Negga was full of praise for Love/Hatein which she also stars. “Stuart Carolan is a genius,” she said. “I’m very proud to have been involved”.

Speaking of loving and hating, former Ifta host Ryan Tubridy presented Brendan O’Carroll with the award for Mrs Brown’s Boyswhich he said made him laugh “like a drain”.

“It’s the Fawlty Towersof its generation,” he said, declaring himself firmly in the “love” camp.

WINNERS: MAIN AWARDS

FILM CATEGORIES

Best Film

The Guard

Director

John Michael McDonagh

The Guard

Script

John Michael McDonagh

The Guard

Actor

Michael Fassbender Shame

Actress

Saoirse Ronan Hanna

Supporting actor

Chris O’Dowd Bridesmaids

Supporting actress

Fionnula Flanagan The Guard

George Morrison Feature Documentary Award

Lelia Doolan Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey

Special Irish Language Award

Paddy Hayes Corp + Anam

Animation

Kealan O’Rourke

The Boy in the Bubble

Philips Short Film Award

Lorcan Finnegan Foxes

INTERNATIONAL FILM

Film

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Actor

Ryan Gosling Drive

Actress

Glenn Close Albert Nobbs

TELEVISION

Best Drama

Love/HateSuzanne McAuley and Steve Mattews

Director Drama

David Caffrey Love/Hate

Writer Drama

Stuart Carolan Love/Hate

Actor

Aidan Gillen Love/Hate

Actress

Ruth Negga Shirley

Supporting Actor

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor Love/Hate

Supporting Actress

Denise McCormack Love/Hate

Irish Film Board Rising Star

John Michael McDonagh

Lifetime Achievement

Fionnula Flanagan

Full list: ifta.ie