'Love/Hate' wins seven Ifta awards


RTÉ crime drama series Love/Hate swept all before it at last night’s Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) winning seven awards.

By contract to last year when they had a slew of nominations but only one award, Love/Hate won best television drama, best director for David Caffrey, best writer for Stuart Carolan, best actor for Aidan Gillen, best supporting actor for Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, best supporting actress Denise McCormack and best editing for Isobel Stephenson.

It was a triumph for Carolan in particular who first created the series. He was the only one involved with it to win an IFTA in successive years.

It was also a big night for The Guard, a major box office success in Ireland, and for its director John Michael McDonagh.

The Guard won for best Irish film and McDonagh won for best director, best screenwriter and best newcomer.

McDonagh did not turn up for collect any of his awards, but did send a message for winning best screenplay.

“It means that I can tell all my friends that I’ve beaten John Banville in a writing competition.” Banville was nominated for writing Albert Nobbs.

Producer Chris Clark said McDonagh had a long-standing trip to Australia that he couldn’t postpone.

“He’s drunken, face-down on a beach in Australia,” quipped Clark. “No, he sends his apologies. Unfortunately, he had made an arrangement to be away and wasn’t expecting all of this success and tributes.”

Actor Chris O’ Dowd collected the award for best newcomer as if he won it himself, but then picked up the best supporting actor IFTA in his own right for his role in the worldwide box office hit Bridesmaids.

Fast rising star Michael Fassbender won best actor for his role as a sex-addict in Shame. He dedicated his award to his parents Josef and Adele who attended last night and to his sister Catherine who could not be there.

President Michael D Higgins presented the lifetime achievement award to Fionnuala Flanagan who he described as a “truly great Irish actress”.

In turn Flanagan (70) said she was “totally bowled over” by the award and though acting was full of heartbreak and rejection, putting in a good performance is “an inordinate bliss that can’t be compared to anything and I include chocolate cake and sex in that”.

She also won best supporting actress for her role in The Guard as Brendan Gleeson’s mother.

Prime Time Investigates won best current affairs programme for its investigation of the home care scandal.

Reporter Adrian Lydon acknowledged the fallout from the Fr Kevin Reynolds libel affair, by saying it had been a “very difficult few months for news and current affairs”.

However, he said it was a “an important recognition of investigative journalism”.

Producer Lelia Doolin dedicated her IFTA for best documentary about Bernadette McAliskey to the veteran civil right’s campaigner “great and indomitable spirit”.

Pat Sullivan’s 35-metre volley which put Shamrock Rovers into the Europa League qualifiers was voted the best TV moment of 2011.

This year’s event, which was attended by 1,700 guests, was heavy on home-grown celebrities with Fassbender and O’Dowd, two who have made the international breakthrough, attracting the most attention.

Injured Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll skipped Paris to support his wife Amy Huberman who was nominated for best support actress for her part in Stella Days.

Huberman showed her patriotism by wearing an all-Irish ensemble of a white vintage-style 1940s dress from Dawn Fitzgerald, shoes from Nina Divito and earrings from Jenny Vander.

When asked if her husband would be popping out to watch the match, she replied “oh God no. I’m sure he’ll be updated on phones and stuff”.

Fortunately for O’Driscoll, he will get a chance to see the rescheduled game on Friday, March 2nd after it was called off last night.

This year was light on A-list celebrities from overseas though Desperate Housewives actress Dana Delaney did turn up.