'Ondine,' 'Eclipse' lead Irish award noms

Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson films with eight noms each

LONDON -- Neil Jordan's "Ondine" and "The Eclipse," directed by Conor McPherson lead the pack with eight nominations apiece in the race for film glory at the upcoming 7th Annual Irish Film and Television Awards.

Both Jordan and McPherson will battle it out to win the evening's top director nod while the movies themselves find themselves vying with one another in the best film category.

The pair face John and Kieran Carney ("Zonad") and Jim Sheridan ("Brothers") in the best film director section while "Eamon," "The Secret of Kells" and "Zonad" all present a challenge to "Ondine" and "The Eclipse" in the best film category.

Dished out by the Irish Film and Television Academy at a ceremony in Dublin next month, the IFTAs serve as a timely reminder of the wealth of talent from the emerald isle. Nominees this year include newcomer Darren Healy alongside Colin Farrell, Ciaran Hinds, Stephen Rea, Michael Fassbender, Simon Delaney, Michael Gambon, Aidan Quinn, Saoirse Ronan, Amy Kirwan, Jade Yourell, Janice Byrne, Anne Marie Duff, Ger Ryan, Nora Jane Noone and Dervla Kirwan.

And the IFTAs are not just about celebrating all things Irish carrying a best international film category, which will be won this year by one from "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Let The Right One In" and "Up."

The best international actor winner will emerge triumphant from Sam Rockwell for his turn in "Moon," Vincent Cassell's performance in "Mesrine: Killer Instinct," Robert Downey Junior's detective work in "Sherlock Holmes" and Stanley Tucci's scary outing in "The Lovely Bones."

While Irish Academy voters pick the men folk, the organization leaves the public to pick a winner for its International actress award.

The Academy will leave the public to pick from Marion Cotillard for "Nine," Penelope Cruz for "Broken Embraces," Anna Kendrik for "Up in the Air" and Meryl Streep for 'It's Complicated."

The awards also honor television endeavors with costume drama mini-series "The Tudors" and "Pure Mule," a modern rural Irish dramady, out front with seven nominations apiece.

Irish television drama productions from Irish broadcasters RTE, TV3, TG4 and BBC NI all feature in the shortlist for Single Drama / Drama Serial; and Ireland's long running soap operas "Fair City" and "Ros na Runhave" been selected for the Drama Series / Soap IFTA alongside "The Clinic," "The Tudors" and "Pure Mule: The Last Weekend."

The IFTA said it had received almost 250 titles submitted for consideration in the 2010 Awards.

Academy CEO Aine Moriarty said the nominations "reinforces the fact that Ireland has a superb resource of creative talent, despite the difficult Irish economic year and the knock-on effect to our creative industries."
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