Jim Sheridan presented Laura Dern The Gregory Peck Award: For Excellence in The Art of Film at a ceremony in The Blasket Centre, Dún Chaoin on July 16th 2014. Cecilia Peck daughter of Gregory was also present. Maurice Galway hosted a public interview with Laura following the presentation. There was also performances from five-time would champion David Geaney and music from Lumiere.

Laura Dern is one of the great actresses of her generation; exhibiting great depth and range, touching audiences and critics alike with her moving and heartfelt performances. Dern’s career spans over many decades in the industry and has seen her nominated for an Oscar (Rambling Rose), win 4 Golden Globes (Enlightened, Recount, Afterburn, Miss Golden Globe) and be nominated several times for an Emmy Award. She was also the worthy recipient of the Tribute To Independent Vision Award at Sundance Film Festival.

Laura was interviewed about her extensive career as actress, director, and producer by Maurice Galway, Artistic Director Dingle International Film Festival.

Cecilia Peck, daughter of Gregory Peck after whom the award was named, was also in attendance.

Laura Dern is an actress who has proven herself time and again, having worked with some of the greatest directors of our time including Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Alexander Payne, Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonathan Demme. Dern is a true mistress of her craft: nominated for an Oscar (Rambling Rose), winner of 4 Golden Globes (Enlightened, Recount, Afterburn and Miss Golden Globe), nominated 6 times for an Emmy Award and worthy recipient of the Tribute to Independent Vision Award at Sundance Film Festival.

Laura Dern’s extensive filmography spans four decades… she has played women who, in a Hollywood context, it can be a challenge to get offered. Complex female roles are rare in Hollywood but Dern has managed to deliver impeccable performances across a broad range of characters. Playing a blind girl in Mask (1985) and a teenager experiencing sexual awakening in Smooth Talk (1985), paved the way for Dern to secure a leading role in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986). Lynch has high acclaim for Dern who he also cast four years later in his Palme D’Or winner Wild At Heart, a notable point of departure for Dern who, the following year, gave her penultimate performance in Rambling Rose (1996). Her portrayal of the free-spirited Southern housemaid earned her an Oscar nomination.

More recently, however, she has received a Golden Globe for her role as a politician in the television film Recount (2008) and another in 2012 for the HBO series Enlightened. Currently she can be found on our screens in The Fault in our Stars (July) and later this year in Wild (December).

Always discerning in her role choice, Dern makes an ideal candidate for the Gregory Peck Award. As Gregory Peck himself said of acting:

You have to have a dream, you have to have a vision, and you have to set a goal for yourself that might even scare you a little because sometimes it seems far beyond your reach. Then I think you have to develop a kind of resistance to rejection, and to the disappointments that are sure to come your way.

Academy Award winner Gregory Peck worked in films for more than fifty years and reached a singular stature in the motion picture industry. It was his classic portrayal of the Lincolnesque Southern lawyer in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ that won him the Academy Award for Best Performance by an actor in 1962. Previously, he had received four Best Actor Oscar nominations for ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’, ‘The Yearling’, ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ and ‘Twelve O’Clock High’.

Gregory Peck’s grandmother Catherine Ashe heralded from Minard, Dingle and Peck often returned to Dingle throughout his lifetime. The award in his name is presented by Dingle International Film Festival annually and is done so with the full support of the Peck family. The award is nominated, as it states, for excellence in the art of film and its recipients to date hold testiment to that, including: Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Jean Jaques Beineix and Stephen Frears. This is the first time the award goes to an actor and Laura Dern, in her discerning performances would seem the epitome of all this award and its namesake hold dear.

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