There was no clear runaway winner at the Irish Film andTelevision Awards (IFTAs) hosted by James Nesbitt in Dublin on Saturday night.
Fourteen major categories of award for Irish filmmakingtalent were divided out among eleven different films before an audience of overfive hundred luminaries of the Irish film and television industry.
Omagh, the HellsKitchen International/Tiger Aspect production for Channel 4, led the pack,taking both the Best Irish Film award and the Best Actor award which went toGerry McSorley.
Timbuktu, fromDublin-based company Yellow Asylum Films also took two awards, for Best Musicand Best Editing, as did Parallel World Productions' Freeze Frame which won honours for Best Cinematography and BestProduction Design.
Freeze Frame directorJohn Simpson also won the Best New Talent award, an open film and TV categoryjointly sponsored by the Irish Film Board and the Northern Ireland Film &Television Commission.
The award for Best Director went to Lenny Abrahamson for Adam& Paul, while Jeffrey Caine took theBest Script Award for Inside I'm Dancing, both of which films are still playing in Irish cinemas.
Irish talent working in non-Irish productions took threeawards - Eva Birthistle won Best Actress honours for her work in Ae Fond Kiss; Dee Corcoran and Ailbhe Lemass jointly took theBest Hair/Make-Up award for King Arthur; and Peter O'Toole won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role asPriam in Wolfgang Petersen's Troy.
Special career awards, and heart-felt standing ovations,were accepted by sprightly octogenarian star Maureen O'Hara, and by the no lesssprightly Pierce Brosnan, Ireland's retiring James Bond who as a producer, theaudience were reminded, had brought three feature films to Ireland in recentyears.
Best acceptance speech by far was made, in her father'sabsence, by Kate O'Toole. Reading from paternally dictated notes she the toldthe audience that her father wished to remind them that he is still very muchalive. That it was Richard Harris who had died, and not he. And that he is indaily communion with Harris who would not be at rest until his beloved Munsterrugby club got on with it and won the Heineken Cup. It was both a subtle andfitting invocation of the ghost at the feast.