Wilde night is calling

<i>Other</i> Oscar will have strong presence

The U.S-Ireland Alliance’s Feb. 22 event at the Wilshire Ebell Theater stands out like an emerald oasis in a week of Hollywood’s increasingly oppressive obsession with gold — as in Oscar. That’s not to say Oscar won’t be on hand, in body and spirit, at the org’s second annual Oscar Wilde: Honoring Irish Writing in Film evening; many of this year’s honorees, presenters and attendees are no strangers to Academy love.

Honoree Terry George has twice been Oscar-nominated for his film writing and will be presented his Wilde Award by Oscar winner Michael Moore. Honoree William Monahan is up for adapted screenplay this year for his work on “The Departed,” and while music legend Van Morrison has no Academy Award on his fireplace mantle, he will be handed his Wilde by Oscar winner Al Pacino.

Also expected to attend are Helen Mirren with hubby Taylor Hackford, Dennis Hopper, Andie MacDowell, costume designer Consolata Boyle and music maven David Foster. Last year Jodie Foster and Anjelica Huston presented awards to honorees Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan.

Says Alliance prexy Trina Vargo, “We’re told we’re the perfect Oscar-week event because no one is trapped at a dinner table, there are only three awards, no long speeches and if you want, you can wear jeans.”

Fun and music aside (Morrison is bringing his band to the event on the heels of their Feb. 21 show at the Gibson Amphitheater), Vargo says the show’s serious purpose is “bringing American and Irish film professionals together. Just by hanging out together, listening to music and chatting, good things can come from creating a bridge between the two cultures.”

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