Northern Ireland

Belfast Lord Mayor hosts Oscar reception for An Irish Goodbye

Oscar winning team for A Irish Goodbye co-director Ross White during as reception in City Hall.Picture by Hugh Russell.
Oscar winning team for A Irish Goodbye co-director Ross White during as reception in City Hall.Picture by Hugh Russell. Oscar winning team for A Irish Goodbye co-director Ross White during as reception in City Hall.Picture by Hugh Russell.

THE cast of An Irish Goodbye dedicated their Oscar win to the people of Belfast as they were hosted by the Lord Mayor Tina Black today.

In the Lord Mayor's Parlour, cast members James Martin and Paddy Jenkins were first to arrive before director Ross White showed up with a certain gold statuette hidden in a carrier bag.

"An Oscar in city hall, unbelievable," said Ms Black.

"It's perfection, it's one of the most beautiful pieces of film I've ever seen in my life.

"I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of the city's heart, this is such an achievement for Ireland, and what you have achieved is unbelievable so I bow down and thank you so much."

Having raised the finance for the film using a crowdfunding campaign, Mr White thanked the people of Belfast for their support.

"We're blown away, I'm so proud of these guys and the work of everybody that's proved Belfast has become this amazing place for film and TV now," he said.

"To be from here and making stuff here is a real honour."

He added: "Bringing this home through security was some craic, had to say 'I've got a wee Oscar in the bag'...so it stayed beside me on the plane."

After an emotional home coming reunion last week, and with matching leopard print jackets, James Martin's father Ivan said it was a poignant moment for the family.

"It was lovely to see him again, I hadn't seen him for nearly two weeks," he said.

"Which is probably the longest amount of time that I've been separated from him since he was born.

"I was great to see him, and even better that the boys as a group and the team brought home the bacon."

After celebrating his 31st birthday on the Oscar stage and now counting Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and fellow Oscar winner Jamie-Lee Curtis among his new friends, James remained every bit the professional as he continued to give back to back interviews.

"Thanks to the mayor for hosting the event, and bringing the Oscar in is a big achievement for Northern Ireland and Belfast," he told The Irish News.

"It's not every day that you have an Oscar in city hall. It's been a fantastic ride. I met a lot of people, Jamie-Lee Curtis was one and she's a fantastic person. I was so close to meeting Jennifer Aniston but she was busy, maybe the next time.

"It was nice to meet the Rock too, even though I only go up to his chest. He's a fantastic actor, big fella, but I treat him like my work colleague and friend."

Mr Jenkins, who played the family priest Father O'Shea in the film, said the success was a joy after working as an actor since 1976.

"Its been a whirlwind of a time. Everybody keeps asking, what's next? What happened, did the two brothers stay on the farm, did they go to London?

"It's just been an incredible time, to see those guys on that stage in LA. You just don't think it's going to happen to you, and it's fantastic for Belfast, for the people. We're showing the world who we are."

The Lord Mayor also told the Irish News she was hopeful the success would see more funding for home grown projects.

"I never thought I would seen an Oscar meandering around the corridors of city hall, so to be a part of that is such a pleasure," she said.

"Studio Ulster is being developed as we speak and it will be leading the way in terms of international film making and virtual development.

"So I hope with initiatives like that happening, the Oscar success and the calibre of this film, we'll see more funding going towards the creative arts."