Oscar Wilde Awards Celebrates 10th Anniversary by Extending Beyond Film
Painter Colin Davidson First Honoree Announced for February Event
12 December 2014: Nearly ten years ago, the US-Ireland Alliance held its first Oscar Wilde Awards in Los Angeles. The non-profit organization first honored acclaimed Irish directors Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan, along with Northern Ireland electronic musician, composer, DJ and regular Stephen Soderberg collaborator, David Holmes.
For the event’s tenth anniversary, and the fourth year it will be held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in Santa Monica, the Alliance will include as an honoree a different kind of artist from Northern Ireland, renowned contemporary painter, Colin Davidson. Davidson is the first honoree to be announced for the 19 February event, the Thursday before the Academy Awards.
On expanding the honorees to include artists beyond film, Trina Vargo, founder of the Washington D.C.-based Alliance, said, “while we expect the event to remain primarily focused on film, several people encouraged us to include successful, creative honorees from other fields and we are honored that Colin is our first honoree to be named.”
Davidson’s works, which have been exhibited extensively worldwide, have developed from the urban cityscape, through sophisticated multi-layered paintings of city window reflections, to a current focus on grand scale portraits which have won widespread recognition across the world. His most recent works depict some of the most important leaders, protagonists and voices of this generation – politicians, poets, writers, actors, musicians and members of the public. From his studio in the coastal town of Bangor, Co. Down, Colin has painted large-scale portraits of Brian Friel, Michael Longley, Simon Callow, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Duke Special, Ciaran Hinds, Paul Brady, Adrian Dunbar, Barry Douglas, Gary Lightbody, Marketa Irglova, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, Mark Knopfler and Bronagh Gallagher - prominent figures who have each, in their own way, shaped life and art over three decades. His painting of Seamus Heaney was the last portrait for which Heaney sat. His work may be viewed at www.colindavidson.com
Abrams is set to return as emcee after missing last year’s event as he was filming Star Wars, including a few days in Ireland. The event has long been a favorite because it is intimate, casual, and informal and has introduced many young contemporary Irish musicians and singers to a new audience. The introducers (such as Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts) are often as notable as the honorees. And there is the great food with an Irish twist and Guinness.
Many of the sponsors of the Oscar Wilde event are return supporters, including Accenture, HBO, and Morgan Stanley. Resurgent Film Group, led by Irish-born Des Carey, will also be among the sponsors in 2015. Resurgent’s first film, which is expected to turn into a franchise, will be a movie adaptation of Brad Thor’s spy thriller “The Lions of Lucerne,” which starts filming in Switzerland next year.