Irish in Film Awards-Season Event Names First 2015 Honoree (Exclusive)

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Painter Colin Davidson from Northern Ireland will be feted at the Feb. 19 event held at J.J. Abrams' place

Colin Davidson, the renowned contemporary painter from Northern Ireland, will be honored at the Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film event, which takes place three days before the Academy Awards.

The 10th annual bash returns to J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot offices in Santa Monica on Feb. 19. The director, who missed last year’s event — he was filming Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens and spent some time in Ireland on the shoot — will be back to emcee.

The nonprofit US-Ireland Alliance created the Oscar Wilde shindig to recognize the contributions of the Irish in film and television. This year, the Washington-based organization is expanding the honorees to include artists beyond film.

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“While we expect the event to remain primarily focused on film, several people encouraged us to include successful, creative honorees from other fields,” US-Ireland Alliance founder Trina Vargo said in a statement.

Other honorees will be announced.

Davidson, 46, who first attracted attention because of his collection of Belfast, Dublin, London and Chicago cityscapes, has been drawing and painting large-scale head portraits of people from the Irish and U.K. arts community. His subjects have included actors Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds, poet Michael Longley and Mark Knopfler, Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan from the music world.

Based in the coastal town of Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, Davidson recently painted 12 individuals of different backgrounds, cultures and traditions who live or work in the ancient city of Jerusalem.

Resurgent Film Group, whose president is Dublin-born Des Carey, is among the sponsors of the event. The company’s first film, an adaptation of Brad Thor’s spy thriller The Lions of Lucerne, starts filming in Switzerland next year.

Among those previously honored were Colin Farrell, Hylda Queally, Seamus McGarvey, Sarah Bolger, Saoirse Ronan, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Colm Meaney, Van Morrison, Terry George, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan and the late THR writer Steve Brennan.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

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