Fionnula Flanagan will be honored with the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards, to be held in Dublin.
IFTA Chief Executive Áine Moriarty said “IFTA is proud to pay tribute to one of Ireland’s finest actresses, celebrating her work spanning almost 50 years and showcasing her great skill and craft in illuminating every character she has portrayed, captivating audiences around the world.
“Fionnula is a wonderful representative internationally, of Ireland’s film and television industry and continues to support home productions along with her international work; she has the greatest respect from her peers here at home.”
On hearing the news that she would receive this honor, Flanagan said, “I am bowled over to be chosen by the Irish Academy to receive this wonderful Award. It is a great honor to be invited to join the ranks of the gifted former recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and, having checked, I am encouraged to find that their work lives continue, some even flourishing, so that if I learn my lines and hit my marks and don't bump into the furniture, my own career might just continue on also. All the more enriched by this beautiful recognition from my IFTA colleagues to whom I say a big thank you!"
Flanagan was born in Dublin in 1941. A look at Fionnula Flanagan’s multi-award winning career reveals the actress as a versatile, artistic, and engaging performer. In drama or comedic roles, Flanagan has deftly portrayed an incredible array of characters in as many different genres - easily inhabiting the lives of Irish women, struggling US immigrants, and Lost islanders; telling stories of Joycean Dublin, star wars, and the great Western frontier; in settings from modern Ireland to beyond the grave, and even deep space.
Training at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and London’s Old Vic, Fionnula Flanagan began her career in 1965 working on stage productions in Ireland and the UK before wowing audiences in New York and Los Angeles.
Her debut feature film was 1967’s “Ulysses”, alongside Milo O’Shea and TP McKenna, with her performance of Gerty McDowell. This established Flanagan as one of the foremost interpreters of Joyce’s work. When no dramatist attempted to dramatize one of the most complex and compelling heroines of 20th Century literatur,: James Joyce’s Molly Bloom, Flanagan, displaying her noted strength and determination, undertook the task herself, writing and then performing as a one-woman stage piece, “James Joyce’s Women” (1977). Critics commented that it was the role that the leading Irish actress was born to play - one which she subsequently filmed, wrote, and produced in 1983, playing all six main female roles.
Working as an actress for almost 50 years, Fionnula Flanagan melds the two distinct elements of her career into an amazing and continuous flow of masterful characterizations. She has had co-starring performances in such Hollywood-generated films as ‘The Others’ and ‘The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood’.
Fellow IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient David Kelly - upon hearing of Flanagan joining him as a Lifetime Member of the Irish Academy said, “Fionnula Flanagan? Wonderful! What a lady - a true star, I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.”
Director Terry George described the actress as "Fabulous, fearless, ferocious in her commitment to acting and to everything she does. She brings life and soul to every project she's in and I look forward to the day when I can work with her again."
Fionnula Flanagan will return to Dublin on February 11th to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Academy and will be joined by family, colleagues, and friends, who will gather to pay tribute to her illustrious career and lifetime achievements in acting.
Previous recipients of the Irish Film & Television Academy’s Honorary Award include actors Maureen O’Hara, David Kelly, and Pierce Brosnan; Directors Neil Jordan and John Boorman and producer Morgan O’Sullivan.