Hollywood’s Irish – and Irish for a night – raised a pint in celebration of the 12th annual Oscar Wilde Awards held at Bad Robot in Santa Monica, California last week.
Emceed by “honorary Irishman” J.J. Abrams, the evening feted honourees including Academy Award-nominated Ruth Negga, Caitriona Balfe, Martin Short, Zachary Quinto and Glen Hansard.
U.S. Ireland Alliance founder Trina Vargo created the event to spark creative collaborations between the Irish and Americans. The Alliance has an impressive track record on that front, most notably by encouraging Abrams to film in Ireland (STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS). Vargo noted that former recipients of an Oscar Wilde Award were in attendance.
In addition to “honorary Irishman” Abrams, former honorees present included Terry George (director, The Promise), Sarah Bolger (Into the Badlands), and CAA agent and US-Ireland Alliance Advisory Board member, Hylda Queally.
Guests at the popular party included presenters Chris Pine, Catherine O’Hara, and Cameron Crowe, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) Jason O’Mara (Agents of Shield), Amy Shiels (Twin Peaks), Diane Keaton (Finding Dory), E.L. James (Author), John Pollono (Stronger), Jon Hamm (Marjorie Prime), John Cho (Star Trek Into Darkness), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story), Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan), Nora-Jane Noone (The Descent), Ruth Bradley (Grabbers), Shannon Woodward (Westworld), Simon Quarterman (The Devil Inside), The Rua (Irish Band), Amy Huberman (Kill Ratio), Tim Dowling (writer, Office Christmas Party), Victor Burke (Fair City), Lesley Nichol and Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Keith Cullen (Singer), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), and Christopher Naoki Lee (Hawaii Five-O).
Performances by Hansard, as well as Irish duo Glenn & Ronan, set the backdrop for the casual outdoor event hosted by the non-profit US-Ireland Alliance.
Abrams opened the evening with kind memories of his late friend and former Oscar Wilde honouree, Carrie Fisher. Remarks from the honourees were lovingly strung together with cheeky quotes from the great Oscar Wilde and each person spoke from the heart about what their Irish ties meant to them in their personal and professional lives.
While accepting his award, Hansard led the crowd in an impromptu sing-along of ‘This Land is Your Land’. He also had Irish poet Stephen James Smith join him for a recitation of Smith’s poem ‘My Ireland’.