Dern receives Gregory Peck Award


By Shelley Marsden

The Fault In Our Stars actress received the award at the Dingle Film Festival

Dingle International Film Festival has presented its Gregory Peck Award: For Excellence in the Art of Film to acclaimed actress Laura Dern.

Dern received The Gregory Peck Award for Excellence in the Art of Film at The Blasket Centre, Dún Chaoin on Wednesday July 16.

Her career spans over decades and has seen her nominated for an Oscar (Rambling Rose), win four Golden Globes (Enlightened, Recount, Afterburn, Miss Golden Globe) and be nominated several times for an Emmy Award. She was also the worthy recipient of the Tribute to Independent Vision Award at Sundance Film Festival.”

“Laura is a true artist, an outstanding actress who has worked with the best directors in the business and I am truly honoured to have the opportunity to welcome Laura and her family to Dingle, and indeed Ireland, for the first time, for this one-off and unique event. This is a real coup for the festival.  As director of the festival I am delighted, but as a fan I am very excited!”,  said Maurice Galway.

Cecilia Peck, daughter of Gregory Peck after whom the award is named, was in attendance. Cecilia’s feature documentary Brave Miss World screened at the festival this year and will screen at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

Laura Dern’s extensive filmography spans four decades and she has played women who, in a Hollywood context, it can be a challenge to get offered. Complex female roles are rare in Hollywood but Dern has managed to deliver impeccable performances across a broad range of characters. Playing a blind girl in Mask (1985) and a teenager experiencing sexual awakening in Smooth Talk (1985), paved the way for Dern to secure a leading role in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986).

Lynch has high acclaim for Dern who he also cast four years later in his Palme D’Or winner Wild At Heart, a notable point of departure for Dern who, the following year, gave her penultimate performance in Rambling Rose (1996).  Her portrayal of the free-spirited Southern housemaid earned her an Oscar nomination.

Gregory Peck had roots in Dingle
Gregory Peck had roots in Dingle

More recently, however, she has received a Golden Globe for her role as a politician in the television film Recount (2008) and another in 2012 for the HBO series Enlightened.  Currently she can be found on our screens giving an outstanding performance & critically acclaimed performance in The Fault in our Stars (July) and later this year in Wild (December).

Always discerning in her role choice, Dern makes an ideal candidate for the Gregory Peck Award.  As Gregory Peck himself said of acting: “You have to have a dream, you have to have a vision and you have to set a goal for yourself that might even scare you a little – because sometimes it seems far beyond your reach. Then I think you have to develop a kind of resistance to rejection, and to the disappointments that are sure to come your way.”

Academy Award winner Gregory Peck worked in films for more than fifty years and reached a singular stature in the motion picture industry.  It was his classic portrayal of the Lincolnesque Southern lawyer in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ that won him the Academy Award for Best Performance by an actor in 1962.  Previously, he had received four Best Actor Oscar nominations for ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’, ‘The Yearling’, ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ and ‘Twelve O’Clock High’.

Gregory Peck’s grandmother Catherine Ashe heralded from Minard, Dingle and Peck often returned to Dingle throughout his lifetime. The award in his name is presented by Dingle International Film Festival annually and is done so with the full support of the Peck family.

“Gregory Peck wrote himself into our lives with his talent, his magnetism, his subtlety, his force, his intelligence, and thanks to his movies, he will continue to write himself into the lives of people all over the world for years to come.” (Martin Scorsese)

Past recipients of the Gregory Peck Award include Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Jean Jacques Beineix and Stephen Frears.

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