Mission Impossible? No, J.J. Abrams was indeed honored as an Irishman in film
After all, you wouldn't exactly call the producer of "Lost," "Star Trek" and "Missions Impossible III" and "IV" a son of the Emerald Isle, whose tribe was celebrated at Thursday's Oscar Wilde Awards allegedly "honoring the Irish in film."
And now a word from our sponsor: This is a Tom Cruise item. Hang in there.
Back to Abrams. So the New York-born Abrams isn't exactly Irish, but his wife, Katie McGrath, qualifies him as Irish Adjacent. Close enough, apparently. Abrams joined "The Soloist" and "Atonement" cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and "The Lovely Bones" star Saoirse Ronan (who was in Germany working on a second film for "Atonement" director Joe Wright) as this year's honorees of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance at the Wilshire Ebell.
As he explained while accepting his award, "When I was first contacted about being honored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, I said, ‘I'm honored.' I said, ‘I'll do it, but I need to have the biggest star in film history ever introduce me,' and I hung up feeling clever and that I'd gotten out of it. And to my horror" the star of "Mission Impossible IV," scheduled for next year, bellied up to the bar.
Cruise slipped in and out for the awards ceremony, apologizing for sporting jeans, although the Irish bash is easily the most casual of pre-Oscar week. Cruise came "to honor my dear friend J.J. Abrams, who is following in the footsteps of the great Irishman James L. O'Brooks," he said, referring to the "Simpsons" writer-executive producer, the first Irish honoree who's actually a Jewish guy from New York. "I know I'm your token Irish buddy."
Also celebrating were Dana Delany and Richard Chamberlain.
– Irene Lacher
Photos: It's the real thing -- there's an Irishman or four on the family trees of Katie McGrath, top left,Tom Cruise, Trina Vargo and Colum McCann at the Oscar Wilde Awards ceremony, top. Honorees J.J. Abrams and Seamus McGarvey show off their awards, above. Credit: Alberto Rodriguez / Getty Images.
A new Times database puts readers on the sidewalks of Hollywood, using more than a century of archives to track the lives of the stars, including current Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, James Cameron, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep.