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Tributes as Barry McGuigan’s late daughter wins at IFTA awards


Barry McGuigan with his daughter Danika (Niall Carson/PA)

Barry McGuigan with his daughter Danika (Niall Carson/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Danika McGuigan. Credit: RTE

Danika McGuigan. Credit: RTE


Barry McGuigan with his daughter Danika (Niall Carson/PA)

Newry filmmaker Cathy Brady paid tribute to Barry McGuigan’s late actress daughter Danika last night after she won the award for best film director at the Irish Film and Television Awards (Iftas).

Hollywood star Colin Farrell presented Brady with the award for her film Wildfire.

In a video post from Los Angeles, the Dubliner said: “I’m so proud to see such great Irish directing talent nominated here.

Danika — known as Nika — McGuigan won a posthumous best actress award in the Drama category for her starring role in Wildfire before she died of cancer aged just 33 in 2019.

Accepting the award on her behalf, her Irish boxing legend father Barry and his wife Sandra said they were “very, very proud and overwhelmed”.

Her brother Blane said: “Nika’s performance speaks for herself. It is the culmination of years of hard work.

"Nika tirelessly grafted to become the best actor she could be and in Wildfire she found a vehicle that let her express herself artistically like she had never been able to do before.

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"It is tragic that Nika did not get to show the world more of her endless talent, but this award and its recognition of her brilliant performance would have meant everything to Danika. “

The critically-acclaimed and award-winning animated film Wolfwalkers won the top honour.

The 2020 feature from Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon won the Best Film category during a star-studded virtual ceremony hosted by Gráinne Seoige and broadcast on Virgin Media One.

The feature won the Best Animated Film category in the 2020 New York Film Critics Awards and was nominated for a number of prestigious awards this year, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Bafta award in the same category.

Presenting the award, Hollywood leading man Josh Brolin spoke of his fondness for Ireland and Irish films, theatre and literature. Fresh on the heels of winning the Best Actor gong at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards in April, Kildare native Paul Mescal (25) was named Best Actor, Drama for the acclaimed adaptation of Mayo writer Sally Rooney’s Normal People. The wildly successful drama mini-series scooped nine Ifta awards, including Best Director, Drama for Lenny Abrahamson.

Series co-stars Fionn O’Shea and Sarah Greene also won awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Supporting Role respectively.

Meanwhile, Dubliner Gabriel Byrne won the Best Actor – Film award for his leading role in the Irish-Canadian film Death of a Ladies Man and paid tribute to the late Montreal singer and poet Leonard Cohen “for his beautiful music and his words,” which were a central theme in the film.

Irish actor and writer Sharon Horgan and Barry Ward also won gongs for best supporting actress/actor for the drama Dating Amber.

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