All week in Los Angles leading up to the Oscars, there’s a slew of glittery parties and receptions.
No event is more fun during Oscar week than the laid-back celebration by US-Ireland Alliance‘s annual “Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film” shindig.
J.J. Abrams played host and welcomed guests to Bad Robot, Abrams’ production company in Santa Monica.
Irish actor Colin Farrell was honored on Thursday night, and his award was presented to him by director Jim Sheridan, who said “In Ireland, we admire Daniel Day Lewis, we respect Liam Neeson, but we love Colin.”
Farrell quoted Oscar Wilde: “‘Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.’ And I think what he was speaking of is the power of experience over comprehension, and that is what film feels like for me in many ways. It feels like the sweet and perfect marriage of comprehension and experience.”
I have met and interviewed Farrell numerous times, and he is as charming and handsome in person as you’d expect.
Abrams, recently tapped to direct “Star Wars,” introduced honoree Michael Burns, and according to the press release said, “The legendary producer Sam Goldwyn said ‘nobody knows anything.’ If he were alive today he might change that to ‘nobody knows anything except Michael Burns.’ Or he might say ‘nobody knows anything including Michael Burns, but holy shit is that guy lucky!’”
What could be more appropriate? In accepting his honor from the Irish group, Burns quoted Yeats and Joyce, and also told funny stories about Hollywood.
He noted, “When, as happens to all of us from time to time, we are disappointed that something we’ve done wasn’t properly recognized, remember this, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘The Graduate,’ ‘MASH,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ ‘All the President’s Men,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Apocalypse Now,’ Raging Bull’ and, yes, ‘Citizen Kane’ all have two things in common. They inspired millions, and none of those fantastic films won the Academy Award for Best Picture.”
From the press release: “Paula Wagner introduced honoree Michele Burke, who she has worked with for twenty years, noting ‘she is responsible for makeup design that for years to come will be remembered as indelible screen images.’ Burke grew up in Kildare, Ireland, where her mother instilled in her a sense of fearlessness, which allowed her to accept the job for ‘Quest for Fire.'”
The event has become known for shining a light on up-and-coming Irish music acts. Performing this year were Julie Feeney, Declan O’Rourke and young Heathers.
Among the 400 guests were Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening; directors Cameron Crowe, and Marc Forster; US-Ireland Alliance advisory board members Hylda Queally (CAA) and Una Fox (Disney); many of the Bad Robot team including Bryan Burk; actors Griffin Dunne, Dominique McElligott, Bronagh Gallagher, and Mike O’Malley; Academy Award nominees Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly and Shawn Christensen; Irish Film Board CEO James Hickey and Commissioner Naoise Barry; several Irish producers and directors including Ciaran Foy, Gary Shore, and Nick Ryan; Irish boxer Barry McGuigan; numerous film industry execs including several from Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment CEO Rob Friedman, HBO President Len Amato, and Drew Buckley of Electus; several music supervisors, music producer George Drakoulias; Garrett Kelleher of Lightstream Productions; 2012 Oscar winner Oorlagh George, Limerick screenwriter Conor Ryan (who recently became the only two-time winner of the LA Comedy Festival pilot script competition), Light Iron’s Des Carey, and media lawyer Paul Tweed.