President Higgins hails Irish Oscar success

Irish President Michael D Higgins

Irish President Michael D Higgins has marked Ireland’s success at the Oscars by hailing it as a “remarkable” year for the Irish film industry.

Higgins congratulated those behind “An Irish Goodbye’’ which took the award for a best short film.

Also as well as Richard Baneham was among the winners of Oscar for visual effects for “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Shot entirely on location in Northern Ireland, the black comedy “An Irish Goodbye’’ follows the story of two estranged brothers coming to terms with the death of their mother.

Its co-directors led a chorus of “Happy Birthday’’ for the film’s star James Martin after it was announced as the winner at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The film also won the short film category at this year’s BAFTAs.

President Higgins said: “May I congratulate ‘An Irish Goodbye’ and Richard Baneham for their fantastic achievements in winning the Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Visual Effects Awards respectively at last night’s Oscars ceremony.

“May I further extend my congratulations to Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, Jonathan Redmond and all involved with ‘An Cailin Ciuin’.

The Banshees of Inisherin for an exceptional recognition of their work which was nominated for an Academy Award constitutes.

“This has been a remarkable year for the Irish film industry and is a testament to the hard work of so many people over recent decades.

“It is particularly welcome to see the recognition that the Irish film industry is receiving on what is the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board, now Screen Ireland, in 1993.

“Success is seen to be built on the acquisition of skills and the pursuit of excellence by all in the Irish film community.

“As a gesture to all that has been achieved, and the important contribution of the film and related industries to Irish life.

“Sabina and I look forward to hosting a St Patrick’s Day reception celebrating the Irish Film, Audio-Visual and Performing Arts Communities at Aras an Uachtarain presidential residence this Friday.”

Ireland’s Culture Minister Catherine Martin also congratulated the two Irish Oscar winners.

Martin said it was a historic night for Ireland and a testament to the wealth of talent that now exists in the Irish industry.

The minister and the Irish consulate hosted an Oscars viewing event in Los Angeles for producers, film executives and the Irish community on Sunday night.

“This evening’s ceremony has been a momentous occasion on so many levels; for the nominees who have received richly deserved plaudits for their creative endeavours.

“For the Irish film industry which is riding the crest of a wave and for all of us in Ireland who are so proud of your achievements,” she said.

“The Oscars ceremony showcased our talent, our language, and the beauty of our country as a tourism destination to a global audience, and with the pipeline of exciting projects in production at the moment.

“There is no reason why we can’t be competing every year at the highest level, such is the creative talent within the country at the moment.”

Martin is in LA as part of a trade mission to boost investment in Ireland’s film industry, tourism and culture.

The trip was part of the Irish government’s St Patrick’s Day programme and included meetings with U.S. studios and production companies.

It included Sony and Disney, which includes representatives from Marvel, Searchlight and Lucas Films. (dpa/NAN)