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Actor Stephen Rea to receive IFTA Lifetime Achievement award at April 20th Ceremony hosted by Baz Ashmawy
06 Mar 2024 : News Desk
Stephen Rea & Baz Ashmawy
The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced that legendary, Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea will be honoured with the Irish Academy Award for his Lifetime Achievement, and for his outstanding contribution to the Irish and international screen industry.

Rea will be presented with the Award in the presence of family, friends and industry colleagues at the upcoming 21st Anniversary IFTA Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, April 20th at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre. 

The Ceremony will be hosted for the first time by Emmy and IFTA winning broadcaster Baz Ashmawy, one of Ireland’s most popular TV personalities, who will bring his own unique warmth and charm to the celebrations.

This year’s Awards Ceremony will welcome Irish and International Guests from all around the world for a great gathering of industry peers, to mark the incredible achievements of the Irish screen industry, at home and abroad. Actors, Filmmakers, and International Guest Presenters will join in the celebrations and help give due recognition for Irish talent and storytelling, and to reward excellence in Film and TV Drama.

The 2024 IFTA Nominations will be announced on Thursday, March 14th by the Academy, with Deloitte acting as official vote scrutineer.  

Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea has amassed an incredibly diverse body of work spanning five decades and is known for his collaborations with director Neil Jordan in a number of iconic films, including The Crying Game, Michael Collins, Greta, The Butcher Boy and In Dreams as well as working with renowned filmmakers such as Mike Leigh and Robert Altman. He has appeared on screen with stars including Emily Blunt, Daniel Craig, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert, Martin Sheen, Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., Kate Beckinsale, Paul Dano, Lily James, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Firth, Julia Roberts, Colin Farrell, Helena Bonham Carter, Andie McDowell, Forest Whitaker, Jim Broadbent, Laura Linney, Kathy Bates, Maggie Smith and Miranda Richardson.

Responding to the announcement, Stephen Rea said:

“So much of Irish culture has been recovered and reimagined. Music, language, literature, theatre. 
And cinema can be added to that list because of the special energy of John Boorman who produced Neil Jordan’s first film Angel. And to my astonishment, my first film too. Neil thrust the script and a saxophone into my hands and suddenly I was in the movies. Well, one really original movie, which was at the beginning of a new confidence in Irish cinema. 
And now many films later, IFTA have, equally surprisingly, offered me a Lifetime Achievement Award. A lifetime of collaboration with the most generous and creative artists you could ever work with. And hang out with. Thanks to all of them. Thank you IFTA.”

Acknowledging Rea’s extraordinary contributions to the Irish screen industry, IFTA CEO Áine Moriarty said:  

"As a pioneer of his craft, Stephen's profound contribution to our industry has left an indelible mark. He brings such an intelligent and intuitive approach to his craft and his performances, with authentic depth and honesty, and a uniquely Irish stoicism."
"He has become one of Ireland’s most respected and beloved actors. His commitment to the craft and to our community has made him an integral part of our cinematic history and the legacy of Irish film, theatre and television.  We in the Irish Academy are honoured to recognise his achievements with this special award.”

Rea’s unique star power was recognised with an Oscar nomination in 1992 for his stunning leading role in The Crying Game, as morally conflicted IRA kidnapper Fergus who becomes embroiled in a complex romance in Troubles-era London. The nuance Stephen brought to this portrayal of an Irish Republican opened the eyes of an international audience to the complicated nature of the violence happening here.

Rea has been the winner of 3 IFTA Awards, with 9 overall nominations; and in addition to his Oscar nomination in 1992, he has received 3 BAFTA nominations and won a BAFTA in 2015. He has appeared in big-screen and small-screen blockbusters like V For Vendetta, Underworld: Awakening and War & Peace, as well as roles in award-winning TV series such as The English and The Honourable Woman. His enduring passion and commitment to theatre has remained steadfast, having collaborated in the early years with Brian Friel and starred this year in a Dublin production of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape

The Host
Baz Ashmawy, also a writer and actor, is best known for his hit series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy, which was first broadcast on Sky One and earned him an International Emmy Award for Best Non-Scripted Entertainment. His new scripted series Faithless, which he wrote and stars in, began broadcasting on Virgin Media One this year. He has also hosted popular TV series in Ireland and the UK including The Money List, DIY SOS, Fáilte Towers, Baz's Extreme Worlds, How Low Can You Go?, The Lost Muslim, The Fanatics, All Bets Are Off, Change Your Tune, Wingman and Last Orders.

Ashmawy said:

“I'm really honoured to host the IFTAs this year. It's been an amazing year for the Irish in TV and Cinema. I’ll aim to be wonderful in celebrating with the best in the industry; the people who have cemented Ireland on the world stage at such a high level, as well as embracing all the new upcoming talent. I can't wait!”

The awards come at a time of enormous success for the Irish screen industry, following last year’s multiple Oscar nominations and global success for Irish talent, including Irish language film An Cailín Ciúin, and this year’s continued success for Irish stars across the international Awards season.

A full list of IFTA Guest Presenters & international guests will be announced in April for the Award Show.

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