Arresting performance could swing awards for Gleeson and 'The Guard'

Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 00:00

JOHN MICHAEL McDonagh’s hit comedy, The Guard,came out on top when nominations for the Irish Film and Television Awards were announced yesterday. The film received nine nominations, including best actor for Brendan Gleeson and best director and best screenwriter for McDonagh.

Two other films also received nine mentions: Stella Days, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s story of a priest’s efforts to maintain a cinema in rural Ireland, and Alfred Nobbs, featuring Glenn Close as a woman forced to cross-dress in 19th century Ireland.

The most successful ever independently released Irish picture at the domestic box office, The Guard, must be regarded as a strong favourite for the big prize.

Gleeson has already received a Golden Globe nomination for his profane performance, and the picture was well reviewed on its US release.

Joining those three films on the shortlist for best film is Terry McMahon’s Charlie Casanova.The story of a violent misanthrope adrift in contemporary Ireland shared the prize for best first feature at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

As is often the case with the Iftas, most of the nominees for best film have a relatively low profile with general viewers. The Guardis the only one of the four to have received a commercial release in Ireland at this point.

The most puzzling of the nominations is for Ciarán Hinds as actor in a “lead role” for his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Although reliably impressive, Hinds has only a handful of lines in the John le Carré adaptation. His role in The Debt– for which he received a nod for best supporting actor – is, if anything, slightly larger. Michael Fassbender, acclaimed as a sex addict in Steve McQueen’s Shame, and Martin Sheen, star of Stella Days, compete with Hinds and Gleeson in the race for best actor.

Saoirse Ronan, nominated for the thriller Hanna, is up against Antonia Campbell Hughes, Marcella Plunkett and Aoife Duffin for the award for best lead actress.

The Iftas also acknowledge achievement in television. Love/Hate, RTÉ’s gangland drama, was ahead of the pack with an impressive 10 nominations. Game of Thrones, the fantasy epic filmed in Northern Ireland, wheezes into a distant second place with five mentions. Created by Stuart Carolan, the distinguished playwright, Love/Hatehas received good reviews and strong viewing figures since its debut in 2010. Aidan Gillen, the show’s star, received a nomination for best actor.

Other shows receiving multiple nominations include Corp + Anam, the Irish-language crime series, and the flouncy Arthurian epic Camelot.

Áine Moriarty, Ifta’s chief executive, said: “Ireland’s economic struggles have been well documented, but against this pressure it’s heartening to see how Ireland’s hard-working creative community continues to punch above its weight and really deliver.”

The awards will be handed out on February 11th at the Convention Centre in Dublin during a ceremony presented by actor Simon Delaney.

IFTA Nominations the best work in cinema and tv

BEST FILM

Albert Nobbs

Charlie Casanova

Stella Days

The Guard

DIRECTOR FILM

Rebecca Daly The Other Side of Sleep

John Michael McDonagh The Guard

Terry McMahon Charlie Casanova

Thaddeus O’Sullivan Stella Days

SCRIPT FILM

John Banville Glenn Close Albert Nobbs

John Michael McDonagh The Guard

Terry McMahon Charlie Casanova

Antoine O’Flaherta Stella Days

BEST ACTOR

Michael Fassbender Shame

Brendan Gleeson The Guard

Ciarán Hinds Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Martin Sheen Stella Days

BEST ACTRESS

Aoife Duffin Behold The Lamb

Antonia Campbell Hughes The Other Side of Sleep

Marcella Plunkett Stella Days

Saoirse Ronan Hanna

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Liam Cunningham The Guard

Brendan Gleeson Albert Nobbs

Ciarán Hinds The Debt

Chris O’Dowd Bridesmaids

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Maria Doyle Kennedy Albert Nobbs

Fionnula Flanagan The Guard

Brenda Fricker Albert Nobbs

Amy Huberman Stella Days

INTERNATIONAL FILM

Bridesmaids

Drive

Senna

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

BEST TV DRAMA

Corp + Anam

Game of Thrones

Love/Hate

The Borgias

BEST ACTOR (TV)

Diarmuid de Faoite Corp + Anam

Aidan Gillen Love/Hate

Chris O’Dowd The Crimson and the White Petal

David Pearse Trivia

BEST ACTRESS (TV)

Maria Doyle Kennedy Corp + Anam

Michele Fairley Game of Thrones

Ruth Negga Shirley

Aisling O’Sullivan Raw

ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME

Hardy Bucks

MasterChef Ireland

Mrs Brown’s Boys

The Savage Eye