Winners of the 14th annual Irish and Film Television Awards were announced in Dublin on Saturday (April 8). Nominees for both film and television were determined by a jury drawn from members of the Irish Film and Television Academy while winners were decided by the entire roster of voters. (See the full list of winners here.)
As at the Oscars, new talent prevailed over veterans in the top races. Newcomer Darren Thornton‘s dark comedy “A Date for Mad Mary” won Best Picture over the likes of Jim Sheridan‘s character study “The Secret Scripture,” Whit Stillman‘s period piece “Love and Friendship” and Juanita Wilson’s crime drama “Tomato Red.” And Charleigh Bailey won Best Supporting Actress for her scene-stealing performance in “A Date for Mad Mary.”
First-time helmer Richie Smyth (“The Siege of Jadotville”) claimed Best Director for his film about an Irish army unit caught up in the 1961 conflict in the Congo, which was also in contention for Best Picture. It also claimed Best Supporting Actor (Jason O’Mara) and Best Visual Effects. Also up for the top prize as was “The Young Offenders,” another film by a novice, Peter Foott; he won Best Screenplay as a consolation prize.
The Best Actress race was won by Oscar nominee Ruth Negga (“Loving”) over Caoilfhionn Dunne (“In View”), Seana Kerslake (“A Date for Mad Mary”), Aisling Loftus (“Property of the State”) and Catherine Walker (“A Dark Song”).
One of three Irish exports — Colm Meaney (“The Journey”) — took Best Actor over two others who have found international fame — “50 Shades of Grey” leading man Jamie Dornan who was nominated for his portrayal of an Irish army officer in “The Siege of Jadotville” and Michael Fassbender (“The Light Between Oceans) — as well as homegrown favorites Mark O’Halloran (“History’s Future”) and Alex Murphy (” The Young Offenders”).
On the TV side, the historical epic “Vikings” took Best Drama over the Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones,” Dornan’s crime drama “The Fall,” 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”) was bested by Cillian Murphy (“Peaky Blinders”) who also prevailed over James Nesbitt (“The Secret”), Aidan Turner (“Poldark”), and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (” Trial of the Century”).
Negga was also up for Drama Actress on the TV side for her role in the AMC hit “Preacher” but Amy Huberman (“Striking Out”) won this race. The others in contention were Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”), Elaine Cassidy (“No Offence”) and Anne-Marie Duff (“Murder”).