Photo: Photo credit: Jonathan Hession/AP
Ireland garnered a record 14 Oscar nominations, sparking jokes that the ceremony should be moved from Los Angeles to Dublin.
Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin received nine nominations, Paul Mescal was nominated for Best Actor for Aftersun and The Quiet Girl made history by becoming the first Irish-language film to be nominated for Best International Feature Film.
“Gael’s Strength!” said the Irish Examiner after announcing the nominations on Tuesday. “Abnormal, People!” said the news site Extra.ie, a pun on Mescal’s previous best-known role in the television drama Normal People.
Joe Duffy, radio presenter for national broadcaster RTÉ, joked to his listeners that the March 12 ceremony should be moved from Hollywood to Dublin. Ireland already has its own Oscars party in Los Angeles, the Oscar Wilde Awards.
The Banshees of Inisherin, a black comedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as ex-friends on a small island, overtook In the Name of the Father, which in 1994 held Ireland’s record for seven nominations.
Banshees received nominations for Best Picture, Direction, Editing, Original Screenplay, Lead Actor (Farrell), Supporting Actor (Gleeson and Barry Keoghan), Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon) and Original Score. Its nine nominations were second only to the action comedy Everything, Everywhere, which won 11.
Ireland now faces a dilemma of who to root for as the best actor – Mescal, who plays the divorced father in Aftersun, or Farrell.
The Northern Ireland film An Irish Goodbye, about the reunion of estranged brothers, one of whom has Down syndrome, was nominated in the Live Action Short Film category.
Jonathan Redmond was nominated for Best Editing for his work on Elvis, and Richard Baneham was nominated for Best Visual Effects for Avatar: The Way of Water.
The Silent Girl – its Irish title is An Cailín Ciúin – broke Irish and British box office records for a film in the Irish language and has already won numerous awards. Directed by Colm Bairéad and based on Foster’s New York novella by Claire Keegan, this is a coming-of-age story about a girl from a dysfunctional family who is sent to live with relatives in rural Ireland.
“If you had told me a year ago that we would be here, I would not have believed you,” said Bairéad. “I think it still gets to me. I’m still in a bit of shock. Euphoric.” Cast members, crew and some financial backers gathered at the Stella Cinema in Rathmines, South Dublin to view the announcement.
Bairéad credited the “extraordinary power” of Keegan’s story as the film’s setting. “If that ultimate dream comes true and we win, she’ll be speaking quite a bit of Irish on stage that night,” he said.
The other international nominees are All Quiet On The Western Front, Close, Argentina 1985 and EO.
The quiet girl was a source of pride for Irish speakers and enabled an explosion of culture and creativity, said Alan Esslemont, CEO of TG4, the Irish-language television network that partly financed the film. “In fact, it was crucial to the new wave of cinema across Ireland.”
The number of nominations in Ireland was not accidental, said John Kennedy, head of visual effects at Windmill Lane, Dublin’s post-production center. “We no longer need to beat the drum of our long tradition of storytelling or a brave underdog nation that exceeds its weight. This is the result of years of steady, sustained, strategic growth across the film industry from government, studio, education and private sector channels.”