The 14th annual Irish and Film Television Awards will take place at Dublin’s historic Mansion House on April 8. The ceremony is to be hosted for the second year in a row by 2015 IFTA winner Deirdre O’Kane (“Noble”) and it will air live on RTE One. Michael Gambon will be feted for a lifetime of achievement in the arts.
In making the announcement of O’Kane’s return, IFTA CEO Áine Moriarty said: “It has been a phenomenal year for Irish film and drama and the academy is delighted to be working with the Irish Film Board to showcase and reward the extraordinarily talented people working in the industry in Ireland. We look forward to a great night of celebration and some great fun too with Deirdre at the helm.”
For her part, O’Kane was delighted to be asked back for an encore. “What an honour to be hosting the IFTA Awards for a second year, especially to be part of showcasing this industry that is gaining so much international recognition. It is important to recognise and reward these accomplishments at home and to promote Irish films and encourage cinema-going so I am delighted to be a part of such a prestigious and significant event.”
Among the six films in contention for the top prize at the IFTA Awards are Whit Stillman‘s period piece “Love and Friendship,” Jim Sheridan‘s character study “The Secret Scripture” and Juanita Wilson’s crime drama “Tomato Red.”
Three first-time filmmakers are also in the running for Best Picture: Peter Foott (“The Young Offenders”), Richie Smyth (“The Siege of Jadotville”) and Darren Thornton (“A Date for Mad Mary”). Their films all reaped writing bids as did “Tomato Red.”
“50 Shades of Grey” leading man Jamie Dornan is up for Best Actor for his portrayal of an Irish army officer caught up in the conflict in the Congo in “The Siege of Jadotville.” His competition includes two other Irish exports — Michael Fassbender (“The Light Between Oceans) and Colm Meaney (“The Journey”) — as well as homegrown favorites Mark O’Halloran (“History’s Future”) and Alex Murphy (” The Young Offenders”).
The Best Actress race is led by Oscar nominee Ruth Negga (“Loving”) who vies against Caoilfhionn Dunne (“In View”), Seana Kerslake (“A Date for Mad Mary”), Aisling Loftus (“Property of the State”) and Catherine Walker (“A Dark Song”).
On the TV side, the Drama nominees include the Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones,” Dornan’s crime drama “The Fall,” the historical epic “Vikings,” the rural tale “Smalltown,” the legal drama “Striking Out” and the Irish language “An Klondike.”
Last year’s Drama Actor winner Dara Devaney (“An Klondike”) defends his title against Cillian Murphy (“Peaky Blinders”), James Nesbitt (“The Secret”), Aidan Turner (“Poldark”), and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (” Trial of the Century”).
Negga is also up for Drama Actress on the TV side for her role in the AMC hit “Preacher.” She vies against Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”), Elaine Cassidy (“No Offence”), Anne-Marie Duff (“Murder”) and Amy Huberman (“Striking Out”).