Glenn Close, Aiden Gillen, Chris O’Dowd receive Oscar Wilde awards at Irish event in LA

The Oscar Wilde awards – like our football team – take a flexible approach to Irishness

 

Glenn Close, Chris O’Dowd and Aidan Gillen were honoured at the annual Oscar Wilde Awards in Santa Monica on Thursday night. Hosted by the US-Ireland Alliance at the offices of Bad Robot, J J Abrams’s production company, the event has, over the last 13 years, become among the busiest in the days leading up to the Oscars.

O’Dowd addressed the looming, unavoidable issue of Brexit at the event. “I think we’re going to have a lot more British people in the country, coming with their tales between their legs looking for passports,” he told the Press Association.

A flock of celebrities made their way to the beachside city to stroll the (yes, sorry) green carpet, eat high-end finger food and bob heads to the music. Dublin band Vinci entertained guests such as Caitriona Balfe, Sarah Bolger and Victoria Smurfitt. There were no glasses of warm MiWadi or tattered Club Milks. This is a very classy event.

Sarah Bolger at the Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty
Sarah Bolger at the Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty
Melissa McCarthy, Glenn Close and JJ Abrams attend Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Melissa McCarthy, Glenn Close and JJ Abrams attend Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

The Oscar Wilde Awards honour “the creative Irish and introduces people in the entertainment world in Ireland to those in the US”. As that suggests, the gongs have developed a flexible approach to Irishness – one that the national football team would recognise – when selecting candidates for their honours.

Chris O’Dowd, currently shooting an adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s novel How to Build a Girl, is, of course, a proud son of mighty Roscommon. Aidan Gillen, who appears prominently in multiple Oscar nominee Bohemian Rhapsody, grew up in the north side of Dublin. Previous honourees have included Caitriona Balfe, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ruth Negga and Saoirse Ronan.

Glenn Close does not, however, make any claims to Irish heritage. Speaking to this newspaper at the time of her appearance in Albert Nobbs, she commented: “I didn’t know any Irish idioms. And I said: how do you say my father was a terrible drunk? … ‘Me dad was a great whore for the drink.’ I loved that!”

Her appearance at the awards constitutes a considerable coup for the organisers. Close is odds-on favourite with most bookies to convert her seventh Oscar nomination into a first win on Sunday night. She is nominated for her turn as the long-suffering title character in The Wife.

“I’m feeling really wonderful, I’ve gone to some wonderful events,” she said at the Oscar Wilde bash. “I’ve seen a lot of friends, I’ve been buoyed along by this great feeling of love and gratitude. It’s been incredible.”

Victoria Smurfit at the Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty
Victoria Smurfit at the Oscar Wilde Awards. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty
Aidan Gillen and Camille O’Sullivan atOscar Wilde Awards Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty
Aidan Gillen and Camille O’Sullivan atOscar Wilde Awards Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/Getty

Also up for an Oscar this year is Melissa McCarthy, who presented Close with her award at Bad Robot. McCarthy is nominated in the best supporting actress race for her turn as Lee Israel, author and literary forger, in Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?

“I just don’t think you can ever expect it. You take a film because you love it, you love the characters, and I loved every second of making it with Richard E Grant. And Marielle Heller was a dream as a director,” she said.

The Academy Awards begin at 1.00 am Irish time on Monday morning. Domestic nominees include Robbie Ryan, cinematographer on The Favourite, and Louise Bagnall, director of the animated short Late Afternoon.