Liam Neeson has won a lifetime achievement award at the Irish Film and Television Academy awards.
When the superstar took to the stage to accept the award, he used the moment to pay tribute to other Irish stars.
He recalled a time when he and Gabriel Byrne were the only Irish actors in Hollywood. He said that at the time there was a ‘small lane way’ between Ireland and LA, but this had now developed into a ‘motorway’ with so much Irish talent now in Hollywood.
Neeson told a reporter that last year the Irish film industry received more Academy Award nominations than Paramount and Universal Studios combined.
President Michael D Higgins presented Neeson with his award.
Neeson said: “I hate public speaking. It’s my worst nightmare but from the bottom of my heart thank you. I’m here because of three people — the late Mary O’Malley in the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, Neil Jordan, who cast me in the film High Spirits, and director John Boorman, who gave me my first break.”
Neeson delighted the audience with a story of when he was cut down to size by Hollywood great Clint Eastwood.
On the set of The Dead Pool, Neeson had some issues with some of the lines his character was due to say so he knocked on director Eastwood’s door.
Eastwood told him: “Well Liam, you hit a few marks and say a few lines, what’s the problem?”
The advice seemed to leave an impression on Neeson. He told the audience: “So some 60 odd films since then that’s what I try and do, hit the marks and say the lines in the order in which they are written and it seems to be working.”
Neeson also made an appeal to government to provide the Irish Film Board with greater funding to help bring out the best in the considerable talent currently in Ireland.
He said: “When it [the government] gets formed needs to give the Irish Film Board more money — €12.5million. That’s seed money.”
Liam Neeson urges for more support of the @IrishFilmBoard #ifta16https://t.co/lQncuJeuEN, via @RTE_TEN
— RTÉ (@rte) April 9, 2016