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December 15:  While actress Michelle Williams was nominated today for a Golden Globe Award and yesterday for a SAG Award, one trophy she is already certain to collect is an annual ‘Oscar Wilde’ award.  Williams, who has received rave reviews including Best Actress awards from numerous critics groups for her portrayal as Marilyn Monroe in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, will be honored on 23 February at the seventh annual “Oscar Wilde:  Honoring the Irish in Film.”  The popular event will be held for the first time at Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams’ Santa Monica production company.  

The non-profit US-Ireland Alliance created the event to recognize the contributions of the Irish in film and to allow for people in the creative industries in the US and Ireland to meet once a year.  In recent years, the Alliance has given ‘honorary’ Irish awards.  Ms. Williams will be the first honorary Irishwoman, and follows in the footsteps of honorary Irishmen Paul Rudd, JJ Abrams and James L. Brooks.  The casual party’s honorees have always had great fun with their conferred Irishness. Brooks recounted how he was astounded when he learned he was Jewish – his grandfather had been taking him to an Irish pub and so he assumed he was Irish for many years.   Abrams’ recounted a family trip to Ireland where an Irish policewoman told him he’d return his lost wallet if he first told her how his television series, Lost, would end.  Rudd, who built an Irish pub in his house, told funny and poignant stories of his trip to Ireland with his father who was an expert on the Titanic, which last sailed from Cobh, in County Cork.

Trina Vargo, President of the US-Ireland Alliance, said that the organization is delighted to honor Michelle Williams, whose performances have established her as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after and respected actors and earned her two Academy Award nominations: “She is an incredible actress with a string of memorable performances, with the latest perhaps being her greatest.  She captures not only Monroe’s look, voice, laugh, and walk, but even the smallest of mannerisms.”  Vargo noted that Marilyn Monroe appears to have had some Irish ancestry herself.  Her mother’s last name was Hogan, the Irish word for ‘young’.  The family line goes back to Kentucky and references can be found suggesting those ancestors were in the US at least as far back as the 1700’s with references to their forebears being from Ireland.

In MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, Ms. Williams stars opposite Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench. For her role as the iconic actress, Williams received the Hollywood Actress Award at the 2011 Hollywood Film Festival.  Williams was also nominated for her fifth Independent Spirit Award and will be honored with the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award at the 2012 Palm Springs Film Festival.

Ms. Williams was last seen in Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE opposite Ryan Gosling. Williams' captivating performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress as well as Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics Association nominations and her fourth Independent Spirit Award nomination.

She stars opposite Seth Rogan in Sarah Polley’s TAKE THIS WALTZ, which premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. Williams is currently in production on Sam Raimi's OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, opposite James Franco, where she stars as Glinda the Good Witch.

Her performance in Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, released in 2005, earned her a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award as well as an Independent Spirit Award, SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award nomination for "Best Supporting Actress." She was next nominated for a 2007 Independent Spirit Award for "Best Actress" for her performance in Wim Wenders' LAND OF PLENTY. In her first collaboration with Kelly Reichardt on her critically acclaimed independent film WENDY AND LUCY, Williams' moving and evocative performance as "Wendy" garnered a Toronto Film Critics Award for “Best Actress” in 2009 and her third Independent Spirit Award Nomination.  In 2004, Williams shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with her fellow actors for Thomas McCarthy's THE STATION AGENT for "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture."

Williams' other film credits include her second collaboration with director Kelly Reichardt's MEEK'S CUTOFF, Martin Scorcese's SHUTTER ISLAND, Sharon Maguire's INCENDIARY, Charlie Kaufman's SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, Todd Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, Ethan Hawke's THE HOTTEST STATE, Sandra Goldbacher's ME WITHOUT YOU, and Andrew Fleming's DICK.  On television, she starred opposite Chloë Sevigny in Martha Coolidge's HBO movie IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK 2. She also had a six-year run as "Jen Lindley" on the WB's hit television series DAWSON'S CREEK. The series premiered in 1998 and remained one of the WB's top-rated shows throughout its run.

Williams’ agent, Hylda Queally, a new member of the US-Ireland Alliance advisory board, was herself honored at the Oscar Wilde event in 2009.  Other 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.  

Additional honorees for the 2012 Oscar Wilde awards will be announced soon.  Sponsors of the event include American Airlines and Accenture. Others interested in sponsorship should contact Ms. Vargo.