Irish film industry celebrates Oscar success

Leonardo DiCaprio (left) with the Academy Award for Best Actor and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (right) with the Academy Award for Best Director in the press room of the 88th Academy Awards. Picture by Ian West/PA Wire

Di Caprio


THE Irish film industry scooped just one winner at the 88th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood despite a record number of nominations.

Despite high hopes for Saoirse Ronan as Best Actress and Michael Fassbender in the Best Actor category it was to be Irish short film Stutterer which won an Oscar for best live action short film.

Brie Larson collected the best actress gong for Lenny Abrahamson's Irish Film Board-backed Room based on the best selling novel by Dublin author Emma Donoghue.

During her acceptance speech Larson gave a special message of thanks to Donoghue and Abrahamson, also from Dublin, for making the film.

But it was success for another Dubliner, writer and director Benjamin Cleary for his film Stutterer that picked up the best live action short film accolade that was the biggest Irish win of the night.

The 13-minute film portrays a lonely man with a severe speech impediment who is searching for love.

Cleary, who financed the movie himself, described his difficulties in making but the film, but spoke of his pride of being Irish.

"You know, when you make your first ever film, you've got to convince a lot of people to jump on board and take a risk with a first-time director, and, you know, to every single member of the cast and crew of Stutterer for jumping on board and taking that risk with me, I'm forever grateful," he said.

"And to the Academy for this award. It's such a huge honour. Thank you so much. To my amazing parents for all the support, thank you."

He finished by declaring: "Every day is a proud day to be Irish, but today even more so than usual. To everyone for all the support back home, thank you so much."

There was disappointment for Irish nominees Michael Fassbender, who lost out to Leonardo DiCaprio in the best actor category and Abrahamson, who was nominated in the best director category which went to The Revenant's director Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu.

Irish president Michael D Higgins last night hailed the strength of the the Irish film industry.

"The nominations in a number of categories are a recognition of the talent that now exists in Ireland's film community," he said.

"It is now accepted internationally that Ireland has an accomplished film industry, providing a great return from the investment in film - made over recent decades - through highly skilled jobs and an enhanced international reputation.

"I send my warmest congratulations to Ben Cleary and the team behind Stutterer and to all the Irish nominees and those who are travelling with them."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access