- 22 Feb 19
The US-Ireland Alliance celebrated the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards last night in Santa Monica. The event was hosted by J.J. Abrams and the evening’s honourees were Aidan Gillen, Chris O’Dowd and Glenn Close.
In presenting Chris O’Dowd with his award, Abrams highlighted O’Dowd’s prolific and varied career. Accepting his award, O’Dowd was typically funny but became serious saying he was: “Painfully aware that my journey from home to here has been immeasurably smoothed by the colour of my skin and the contents of my purse. To witness the bombardment of terms like border wall, caravan and separation camps breaks my heart.
“I’m reminded of Oscar’s words – ‘the world’s a stage, but the play is badly cast.’ My humble advice to those in the lead roles, to paraphrase our friend J.J. - ‘Please, I beg you, act better.’ Your children are watching.
"And for those with names like Hannity, O’Reilly, Mulvaney, Pence, Bannon and Conway, I’d like to remind you that your immigrant ancestors are listening and you’re making their ears bleed. Well-chosen words can garnish your life with immortality. Remember where you came from or you’ll be long forgotten. Choose better words or choose different roles.”
Abrams began the night in support of investigative journalism. Trevor Birney, the producer of No Stone Unturned, was in attendance and Abrams noted that Birney and journalist Barry McCaffrey were arrested in Northern Ireland in relation to their documentary about murders that occurred in Northern Ireland in 1994, Abrams said: “Now more than ever, investigative journalists need to be supported.”
Allen Leech, who is in Bohemian Rhapsody with honouree Aidan Gillen, introduced his fellow Irishman. In accepting, Gillen said: “This is as exciting to me as getting an Oscar Oscar.” He spoke of the Alliance’s George J. Mitchell Scholarship program and praised Senator Mitchell’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process saying, “it was, to me and to a lot of us, the most important thing to happen, socially and politically in Ireland in our lifetime.”
Previous Oscar Wilde Award honouree Melissa McCarthy presented Glenn Close with her award, jokingly casting doubt on Close’s “sketchy” Irish heritage.
McCarthy recalled her: “Glenn moment … when I was 18, and it was Dangerous Liaison and there’s a scene when everyone had turned on her and I watched her go pale, I watched her weirdly blush through all that white makeup and white powder and I didn’t know what it took to get there, and I remember I knew I was watching someone do something that you’re not supposed to be able to do. It was magic.”
Close, in accepting her award, said she is Irish in her heart and spoke of how she adored her time in Ireland making Albert Knobbs: “It was one of the greatest experiences of my career.” She joked that she and co-star Janet McTeer used to love to go into the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, dressed in character, and got a big kick out of “being so repellent.”