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Thursday 23 October 2014

How the 'Irish Oscars' lost their Glamour and gloss and descended into chaos

Speculation hangs over the future of the Irish Film and TV Awards (IFTAs) after a comedy of errors hit the 2012 event.

Academy Award-winner Brenda Fricker openly stated what many at the event had been too scared to say -- that it was a "cringeworthy disgrace".

And it has been the week that the gloss finally came off what are often laughingly described as 'Ireland's answer to the Oscars'.

While 40 awards were dished out to an eclectic mix of people working in the industry, the organisers certainly shouldn't be holding their breath for any accolades themselves given the chaos that has surrounded the 2012 event. We take a look back at the week that that IFTAS finally lost their glamour.

1Watergate: Things got off on the wrong foot from before the event even started with a last-minute mishap on Friday night. As revealed in the Herald, an employee setting up the VIP Moet drinks reception on the third floor had accidentally set off the emergency water sprinkler, soaking the entire area. Not only that, the water had seeped down to the floors underneath, meaning huge numbers of staff had to be drafted in to replace the carpets and clean up the soggy mess before the stars arrived.

2Drink drought: Chaos reigned as attendees scrambled to get a quick drink before the bash began. Shortly after 6pm, staff were instructed not to serve any more drinks to guests. Some nominees were even snubbed when requesting what should have been a complimentary tipple. What followed was a three-hour-long snooze-fest with many people dashing out mid-way through as they struggled to stay alert.

3Miriam bashing: One thing that certainly woke everyone up was Brendan O'Carroll (below right), who said he was "bored" before he won an award, referring to Miriam O'Callaghan (right) in dubious terms. The Mrs Browns Boys creator said: "Who thought a wrinkly, loud-mouthed old woman would capture the heart of the country, so well done Miriam O'Callaghan." Ever the lady, she said she was "honoured" to be compared to his popular character.

4The Jen & Keith show: Things took another downward dip after Jennifer Maguire came out on stage with Keith McErlean for what should have been simple handing out of the lesser-known awards. Instead, it turned into a disorganised half hour where the two confused presenters tried to work out who was there to pick up their gongs and who wasn't. Problems with the autocue and no time to rehearse beforehand only added to the clumsy chaos.

5Absent fathers: Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan was revealed as the winner of the Best Actress award for Hanna. After some delay, her dad Paul picked up the award and told the audience how he was "in the loo" at the time.

6Random barbs: Event host Simon Delaney had a pop at Westlife's Kian Egan for "pretending to be a singer" on The Voice Of Ireland before adding: "I want to thank Brian Kennedy for that joke."

7Leigh Arnold and Boobgate: The heavily pregnant actress revealed how she "wanted the ground to open up and swallow her" after footage of her was shown sitting naked in a bath, with her breasts clearly visible in a scene from Charlie Casanova. Being surrounded by so many familiar faces only made it worse, she said.

8exit music: Best Director winner David Caffrey of hit TV show Love/Hate made his way to the stage to accept his award and was in the middle of his acceptance speech when suddenly the 'exit music' was played. "I'm the first person to get the music!" he remarked as he was bustled off stage practically mid-sentence. Luckily the gang won a few more awards so he got to finish his speech.

9Dire dinner: Guests sat down to the aftershow meal, which met with decidedly mixed reviews. The food was already on the plate when attendees arrived at their tables -- not that there was that much of it. The shortage of complimentary alcohol was also criticised.

10Stage storming: RTE presenter Kathryn Thomas decided to liven things up after she hopped up on stage during the start of Alabama 3's performance. She gave out to them for singing "f**k the police", claiming they were inciting people to violence. The band appeared non-plussed and continued playing.

11Fussy Fassbender: Despite his status as the hottest man in Hollywood, Michael Fassbender (left with Olivia Treacy) disappointed some fans by refusing to do pics at the aftershow party. While Brendan Gleeson posed with all and sundry, the Kerryman told his admirers he had "already done his fill".

12Fuming Fricker: Oscar-winner Brenda hit the headlines after being asked for her opinion on the night. "It was mind-blowingly, numbingly boring. It was a mess. Badly organised. I was cringeing in my seat," she said. She branded some of the presenters as "disgraceful", pointing the finger at Keith McErlean in particular. "The music was off, and late, because he didn't say his cues. It was a mess. I was cringeing in my seat. It was badly organised and the room was full of people who could have gotten up and done it perfectly."

13Bad preparation: Jennifer Maguire defended herself by saying how they weren't told by organisers who was going to be there to accept the awards and their half-hour job at the IFTAs was "very tough." She said they weren't given proper time to rehearse what was going to happen.

14Nominee snubbing: It emerges that despite being nominated for providing one of the Best TV Moments of 2011, Siobheal Nic Eochaidh didn't get the nod for a ticket.

15TV3 embargo: The station vowed to continue its boycott into next year after claiming that the ceremony was unfairly slanted in favour of RTE. A spokeswoman also blamed the "prohibitively high" cost of entering and attending the event and said it would rather spend the money on actual programmes.

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