Guests arriving at the ceremony had to cross an unofficial picket line mounted by their colleagues: actors and film technicians protesting at worsening pay and working conditions in the industry even as the Irish government gives film and TV production more financial support. Among the issues being protested were the often late or deferred payment of wages on film projects, alleged blacklisting by producers, and the alleged functioning of the Section 481 tax break as a 'scam' that enriches producers.
Actor Cillian Murphy had two acting nominations, one for the Loach film and one for the Jordan film, and received the Best Irish Actor Award for his work on the latter. Other acting honours went to Fionnula Flanagan, Best Supporting Actress for Transamerica, Eva Birthistle as Best Actress for Middletown, and Ciaran Hinds, as Best Actor Television for Rome.
While John Boorman's film, The Tiger's Tale, won awards both for music (Stephen McKeon) and cinematography (Seamus Deasy), his company Merlin Films won four awards for the TV drama, Stardust, including Best TV Drama.
Irish costume designer Consolata Boyle was awarded for her work on Stephen Frears' The Queen, a good beginning for her as she faces BAFTA and Oscar nominations. The Queen star Helen Mirren was also named Best International Actress, while Little Miss Sunshine scooped the Best International Film Award.
The IFB & NIFTC Breakthrough Talent Award award, across both film and television, went to Niall Heery for writing/directing his debut feature Small Engine Repair. Veteran casting director Nuala Moiselle was celebrated for her contribution to the industry and presented with her award by Jim Sheridan, for whom she has cast five films.
Other guest presenters on the night included Irish Minister for Arts Sport & Tourism John O'Donoghue, and actors Brian Cox, Gabriel Byrne, Lara Flynn Boyle and Stephen Rea. Pierce Brosnan who was scheduled open the proceedings was unable to attend due to a family illness.
Irish Film & Television Awards Winners
AWARDS IN FILM
Best Film - The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Sixteen Films & Element Films)
Best International Film - Little Miss Sunshine (20th Century Fox)
Best Director - Neil Jordan Breakfast on Pluto (Parallel Film Productions Ltd.)
Best Script - Neil Jordan & Pat McCabe Breakfast on Pluto (Parallel Film Productions Ltd)
Best Cinematography - Seamus Deasy The Tiger's Tail (Merlin Films)
Best Music - Stephen McKeon The Tigers Tail (Merlin Films)
Best Production Design - Mark Geraghty Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Paramount Pictures)
Best Costume Design - Consolata Boyle The Queen (Granada)
Best Hair & Makeup - Lorraine Glynn, Lynn Johnson - Breakfast on Pluto (Parallel Film Productions)
AWARDS IN ACTING
Best Actor in a Lead Role - Film - Cillian Murphy Breakfast on Pluto (Parallel Films Productions Ltd)
Best Actress in a Lead Role - Film - Eva Birthistle Middletown (Green Park Films/Chapter Four)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Film - Liam Cunningham The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Sixteen Films & Element Films)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Film - Fionnula Flanagan Transamerica (Weinstein Co)
The IFB & NIFTC Breakthrough Talent Award - Niall Heery (Writer/Director) Small Engine Repair
Best Short Film - Joyriders (Half Light Productions)
Best Short Animation - Horn Ok Please (Flickerpix LTD)
People's Choice Awards
AIB Best Irish Film People's Choice - The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Best International Actress People's Choice - Helen Mirren The Queen
Best International Actor People's Choice - Leonardo DiCaprio The Departed