Oscar Night, the Oscar WIlde's that is....

The US-Ireland Alliance honored three jewels of Irish culture last Thursday, February 19th, at a red carpet event in the beautiful Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Actor Brendan Gleeson, introduced by Desperate Housewives actress Dana Delany, received an award for his many achievements in film, including The Field, Mission: Impossible 2 Gangs of New York, Harry Potter, and most recently, In Bruges, to name but a few.

Dubliner Jonathan Rhys Meyers, introduced by Australian actress Rose Byrne, was awarded for his prolific work in cinema such as Bend it Like Beckham, Alexander, Mission Impossible III, Match Point and several television dramas including The Tudors.

But the plum of them all was CAA agent Hylda Queally who had the privilege of being introduced by one of her clients, actress Kate Winslet. Kate told of the time she first met Hylda, "She ate potatoes, loads of potatoes. I loved it, an American who ate carbs! Little did I know she was Irish. And I must mention her choice of bag. This was the deal breaker because she was carrying a very simple dark blue backpack. Nothing fancy, just practical. Now this is a woman I can relate to, I thought - she's on the go - she's not into fashion. She needs to keep her hands free at all times for any eventuality, including holding scripts. She's an adventurer! But the one part of the backpack, the clue that I missed was that in that backpack there was room for two - her and me. Nothing could have prepared me for the adventures that this woman would send me away on, life changing moments all dreamt up by her."

Hylda Queally described herself as having grown up on a farm in County Clare and remembers her grandmother "hanging pictures of John F. Kennedy beside pictures of the Pope." Hylda opened her first agency in Ireland where her first office was a phone booth and her first assistants were "the workers who were working on the new waterpipes and would answer the phone when I stepped away and say, 'She's indisposed at this moment in time." Hylda reminded us that the award she received was named after playwright Oscar Wilde, "..who on arrival at customs (in America) was asked if he had anything to declare and replied, 'Nothing but my genius.' Well I arrived twenty years ago," Hylda told us, "With nothing to declare but 300 dollars and two suitcases."

It was an evening to meet old friends and make new ones, an evening of fine Irish cheeses and chocolates, of fine food, fine wine and the welcome bottle of stout. Producer of The Reader, Redmond Morris was there with his family from Ireland. We heard lyrics from Irish singer Gemma Hayes, Dublin born artist Laura Izibor (pictured above), Dublin band Republic of Loose, and a surprise song by the one and only Maura O'Connell, whose sonorous voice is every bit as rich and resonant as the day she left County Clare.

Photo above of aura Izibor: Images for US-Ireland Alliance
Redmond Morris, Hylda Queally, and Kate Winslet

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