Iftas: Normal People arrives too late for ‘virtual’ awards

Jessie Buckley and Niamh Algar among nominees for Irish Film and TV Awards

The Irish Film and Television Academy (Ifta) has announced its nominations for the Irish Academy Awards. There was no ceremony in 2019 and, as a result, the current nominations cover film and TV drama that emerged over the previous two calendar years.

The academy has confirmed its intention to stage a “virtual ceremony” in September that will observe coronavirus restrictions.

Films scoring heavily include Tom Sullivan’s Arracht, an Irish-language drama set during the Famine, which picked up 11 nominations; Paddy Breathnach’s Rosie, a take on the homeless crisis, which gets nine mentions; and Lee Cronin’s horror The Hole in the Ground, which figures in seven categories.

Niamh Algar and Jessie Buckley, two of the nation's fastest rising stars, manage three nominations each across the two years. Algar is up for the 2019 film Calm with Horses and the TV series The Virtues and Pure. Buckley scores for the recent film Wild Rose and the series The Woman in White and Chernobyl.


The psychological thriller Blood topped the TV chart with five nominations. Lisa Mulcahy and Hannah Quinn are mentioned for best director of a TV drama.

Cillian O'Gairbhi and Ingrid Craigie get acting nominations for the same show. Dublin Murders, another popular crime series, and Vikings, the long-running beard-and-pillage epic, both receive four mentions. Four of the six nominations for best director in a TV drama were women.

It seems Normal People, the TV sensation of lockdown, arrived too late to qualify for this year’s awards.

In 2018, Ifta felt able to nominate only three performers in the best film actress section. This year, the academy reports a record number of females in all categories. The number of woman actors submitted in lead categories was greater than the number of male performers put forward.

Other performers competing over the two years include Aisling Franciosi for her searing role in the Australian revenge drama Nightingale; Bronagh Gallagher for her performance as an unexpectedly pregnant Derry woman in A Bump Along the Way; and Saoirse Ronan for her turn in Greta Gerwig's Oscar-nominated Little Women.

The best film competition is split into separate 2019 and 2020 categories. The earlier race is between Black ’47, Float Like a Butterfly, Rosie, The Dig and The Hole in the Ground. The more recent nominees are A Bump Along the Way, Arracht, Calm with Horses, Extra Ordinary and Ordinary Love.

The finalists for the George Morrison Documentary Award are Gaza, I Dolours, Katie, The Image you Missed, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid and When All is Ruin Once Again.

“This year’s nominations showcase to the world what Ireland’s small but excellent film and television community has to offer,” Ifta’s chief executive Áine Moriarty noted. “Our industry is delivering world-class standards, and the Irish academy is proud to showcase and acknowledge their achievements. These past few months have been difficult for so many, and we look forward to a time when Irish productions can resume and continue to bring powerful engaging stories to the screen.”

The academy confirmed that, due to Covid restrictions, there will be no “physical Ifta awards ceremony” until April 2021. It will then be over three years since the last Ifta ceremony, which took place in the Mansion House on February 15th, 2018. Full details of the virtual ceremony will be announced shortly.

Ifta 2020 nominee list

Best Film 2019

Black '47
Float Like a Butterfly
The Dig
The Hole in the Ground

Best Film 2020

A Bump Along the Way
Calm with Horses
Extra Ordinary
Ordinary Love

Best Director – Film

Paddy Breathnach – Rosie
Nora Twomey – The Breadwinner
Lance Daly – Black '47
Tom Sullivan – Arracht
Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman – Extra Ordinary
Lee Cronin – The Hole in the Ground
Lisa Barros D'Sa & Glenn Leyburn – Ordinary Love

Best Script – Film

Roddy Doyle – Rosie
Owen McCafferty – Ordinary Love
Joe Murtagh – Calm with Horses
Mark O'Halloran – Rialto
Tom Sullivan – Arracht
Carmel Winters – Float Like a Butterfly

Actress in a Lead Role – Film

Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose
Aisling Franciosi – The Nightingale
Bronagh Gallagher – A Bump Along The Way
Sarah Greene – Rosie
Seána Kerslake – The Hole In The Ground
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Actor in a Lead Role – Film

Dara Devaney – Finky
Moe Dunford – The Dig
Liam Neeson – Ordinary Love
Dónall Ó Héalaí – Arracht
Tom Vaughan Lawlor – Rialto
Barry Ward – Extra Ordinary

Actress in a Supporting Role – Film

Niamh Algar – Calm With Horses
Catriona Balfe – Le Mans '66
Seána Kerslake – Dublin Oldschool
Charlie Murphy – Dark Lies The Island
Emily Taaffe – The Dig
Catherine Walker – We Ourselves

Actor in a Supporting Role – Film

Lorcan Cranitch – The Dig
Dara Devaney – Arracht
Barry Keoghan – Calm With Horses
Ian Lloyd-Anderson – Dublin Oldschool
Stephen Rea – Black '47
David Wilmot – Ordinary Love

The George Morrison Feature Documentary Award

I, Dolours
The Image you Missed
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid
When All is Ruin Once Again

Best Drama

Death and Nightingales
Dublin Murders

Best Director – Drama

Anthony Byrne – Peaky Blinders
John Hayes – Dublin Murders
Lisa Mulcahy – Blood
Hannah Quinn – Blood
Aisling Walsh – Elizabeth is Missing
Dearbhla Walsh – The Handmaid's Tale

Best Script – Drama

Ronan Bennett – Top Boy
Daragh Carville – The Bay
Mark O'Connor – Darklands
Mark O'Rowe – Temple

Actress in a Lead Role – Drama

Niamh Algar – The Virtues
Caitriona Balfe – Outlander
Jessie Buckley – The Woman in White
Sarah Greene – Dublin Murders
Ruth Negga – Preacher
Ann Skelly – Death and Nightingales

Actor in a Lead Role – Drama

Richard Dormer – Fortitude
Adrian Dunbar – Line Of Duty
Brendan Gleeson – Mr Mercedes
Cillian Murphy – Peaky Blinders
Chris O'Dowd – Get Shorty
Andrew Scott – Black Mirror – Smithereens

Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama

Niamh Algar – Pure
Helen Behan – The Virtues
Ruth Bradley – Guilt
Jessie Buckley – Chernobyl
Ingrid Craigie – Blood
Fiona Shaw – Killing Eve

Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama

Liam Cunningham – Game of Thrones
Barry Keoghan – Chernobyl
Owen McDonnell – Killing Eve
Cillian O'Gairbhi – Blood
Mark O'Halloran – The Virtues
Tom Vaughan Lawlor – Dublin Murders

Short Film (Live Action)

Ciúnas (Silence)
El Hor
Here's Looking at you Kid!
Sister This
The Grass Ceiling
The Vasectomy Doctor
Welcome To A Bright White Limbo

Short Film (Animation)

Outside the Box
Streets of Fury
The Bird & the Whale
The Dream Report
The Overcoat

Best Cinematography

Tom Comerford – The Hole in the Ground
Andrew McConnel – Gaza
Kate McCullough – Arracht
Piers McGrail – Never Grow Old
Robbie Ryan – Marriage Story
Cathal Watters – Rosie

Best Costume Design

Joan Bergin – The Catcher was a Spy
Clodagh Deegan – Arracht
Triona Lillis – Float Like A Butterfly
Eimear Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh – The Rhythm Section
Susan O'Connor Cave – Vikings
Louise Stanton – Rosie

Best Editing

Colin Campbell – The Hole in The Ground
Dermot Diskin – Never Grow Old
Michael Harte – Three Identical Strangers
Tony Kearns – Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Mick Mahon – Gaza
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – Rosie

Best Original Music

KÍLA – Arracht
Stephen McKeon – The Hole in the Ground
Stephen Rennicks – The Little Stranger
Brian Byrne – Black '47
Ray Harman – Blood
Stephen Rennicks – Rosie

Best Production Design

Tom Conroy – The Rhythm Section
Damien Creagh – Calm with Horses
Conor Dennison – The Hole in the Ground
John Leslie – Never Grow Old
Padraig O'Neil – Arracht
Anna Rackard – The Trial of Christine Keeler

Best Sound

Brendan Rehill & Alan Scully – Arracht
Fionáin Higgins & Robert Flanagan – Black '47
Ronan Hill, Danny Crowley & Simon Kerr – Game of Thrones
Aza Hand, Karen O'Mahony and Patrick Drummond – Never Grow Old
Hugh Fox & Niall Brady – Rosie
Steve Fanagan & Niall Brady – The Little Stranger

Best Makeup & Hair

Niamh O'Loan – Arracht
Linda Gannon & Liz Byrne – Black '47
Louise Myler – Finky
Polly McKay – Ordinary Love
Dee Corcoran & Tom McInerney – Vikings
Eileen Buggy & Jennifer Hegarty – Vita & Virginia

Best VFX

Jim O'Hagan and Ronan Gantly – Game of Thrones
Ed Bruce – The Favourite
Ed Bruce and Jim O'Hagan – The Irishman
Ed Bruce and Nicholas Murphy – We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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