Martin Scorsese presented the top awards at the Irish Film and Television Academy awards, which were held virtually for the first time in two years last night (October 18).
Ordinary Love, directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn and starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, won the best film 2020 award. Lance Daly’s period thriller Black ’47 won the 2019 version.
The virtual awards were broadcast on national TV channel Virgin Media One, with Scorsese telling the audience: “It appears to me that we are all having to reinvent cinema now, and that’s a good thing. We need vision, creativity and storytelling that takes us on a journey and opens us, enlightens us, opens our hearts and our minds, and there’s something about Ireland and Irish storytelling that is universal that connects with everyone in the world. John Ford knew that, and I know that”.
Last year’s awards were deferred pending delivery of IFTA’s five-year strategic plan.
Kerry-born Jessie Buckley won two awards on the night; best actress film for Wild Rose, and best supporting actress drama for Chernobyl.
Paddy Breathnach won best director for Rosie, whilst Tom Vaughan-Lawlor won best actor film for Rialto.
Niamh Algar won best supporting actress film for Calm With Horses and also the leading actress drama prize for The Virtues. Best supporting actor film went to David Wilmot for Ordinary Love.
Aisling Franciosi won the Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland rising star award for her performance in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale.
Other big TV winners included Blood (best drama), Andrew Scott (best actor drama for Black Mirror: Smithereens) and Mark O’Halloran (best supporting actor drama for The Virtues).
Liam Neeson, Normal People stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, Pierce Brosnan and Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe also presented awards, whilst actress and comedian Deirdre O’Kane was hosting.
Neeson shared a message to the Irish Screen industries on the night, saying: “I’m thinking of you all back home right now and I know we are going through hard times, cruel times. Many industries have been hurt, especially the film industry, but we will get through it; we must get through it. As a famous politician once said, ‘when you’re going through hell, keep going’. To all our film-makers, young actors and actresses try and stay strong, stay creative. The work will come back again, and tonight we are going to celebrate how cool and how great a film industry we have in Ireland.”