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June 30, 2011:  One of the hottest party tickets during Oscars week in Hollywood just got hotter with the news that the seventh annual “Oscar Wilde:  Honoring the Irish in Film” event will be held at Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams’ Santa Monica production company.  The US-Ireland Alliance, the non-profit organization behind the event, also announced that CAA agent Hylda Queally has joined the organization’s Advisory Board.

The Alliance builds ties between the US and the island of Ireland on the basis of a contemporary relationship (i.e. they don’t do leprechauns and green beer).  The Oscar Wilde event was created to recognize the contributions of the Irish to film and serve as a way for people in the creative industries in the US and Ireland to meet once a year.  The recent filming of Universal’s Your Highness, was the result of what began with an Alliance introduction.

The Alliance got a further boost this week with the addition of CAA agent, Hylda Queally, to the organization’s Advisory Board.  The Irish-born Queally was also honored at the awards ceremony in 2009.  Kate Winslet presented her with her award.  Winslet is one of Queally’s many A-list clients, which also include Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Freida Pinto and Michelle Williams. “Since we first met a few years ago, I have frequently relied on Hylda’s sound advice and support in navigating the film industry.  I’m thrilled she’s formally joining what she’s informally been contributing to for years,” said Vargo.   “The Oscar Wilde event has been central to building ties between the US and Irish film and music communities and I’m delighted and honored to become even more a part of the Alliance’s great work on behalf the relationship,” Queally said.

Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, have regularly attended the annual February event, which is always held on the Thursday night before the Academy Awards.  Last year, Abrams, following in the footsteps of James L. Brooks, was made an ‘honorary’ Irishman at the event where Tom Cruise presented him with his award.  This year, Julia Roberts presented Paul Rudd with his ‘honorary’ Irishman award.

In 2001, Abrams founded Bad Robot Productions with his producing partner, Bryan Burk.  Bad Robot is partnered with Paramount and Warner Bros. Studios.  Film projects include: Super 8, Mission: Impossible 3, Star Trek , and television series Lost, Alias and Fringe.  Bad Robot’s latest television series Person of Interest and Alcatraz will premiere this fall on CBS and Fox.  Abrams also has the rights to Irish author Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, which won the National Book Award for fiction in 2009.

Trina Vargo, founder and president of the US-Ireland Alliance, was a foreign policy adviser to Senator Ted Kennedy in the late ‘80’s and ‘90’s where she worked with McGrath, who was also a Kennedy staffer.  Vargo said she was excited by the offer: “J.J. and Katie have been good friends to me and the event and we’re thrilled they’ve invited us to hold it at Bad Robot.  This shift in venue also gives us a chance to re-imagine things a bit.  From the start, it’s been small, intimate and casual -- a house party feel.  And it will be even more so at Bad Robot.”

McGrath noted that, “Trina had been urging us to visit Ireland for some time and two summers ago we took a family vacation to see where my ancestors were from and fell in love with the place.”  J.J. added:  “Katie and I understand how Trina and the Alliance are working to re-invent the US-Ireland relationship and we hope that by hosting the event at Bad Robot, we can help raise the profile not only of her efforts to build entertainment connections, but bring more attention to the George J. Mitchell Scholarship program and the other educational programs of the Alliance.”

Previous recipients of Oscar Wilde Awards include Ros and John Hubbard, Sarah Bolger, Saoirse Ronan, Seamus McGarvey, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Fiona Shaw, Colm Meaney, Van Morrison, Bill Monahan, Terry George, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan and David Holmes.  The event brings out a host of well-known figures in the film community such as Al Pacino, Jodie Foster, Dick Cook, Harvey Weinstein, Anjelica Houston and Orlando Bloom.  Musical performers have ranged from introducing Irish singers like Duke Special and Laura Izibor, to well-known performers like Morrison, Glen Hansard and Bell X1.