Oscars 2023: Will the fortunes of the Irish fall on our worthy contenders?
As the Tuesday afternoons passed, it was up there with the best of them. Ireland’s fourteen nominations at the Oscars? We’re counting down the days until Sunday, March 12, when Hollywood’s bests head to the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the 95th Academy Awards.
His stats are almost unfathomable. A quarter of this year’s acting nominees are Irish. We’re represented across nine categories, from Best International Film to Best Live Action Short Film.
Kildare’s Paul Mescal, an emotion in Charlotte Wells’ devastating father-daughter drama, sundownNominated for Best Actor. Inisherin’s Banshees, Martin McDonagh’s heartbreaking tale of bitter brotherhood in Civil War Ireland, was nominated for Best Picture. Get the bunting out.
Exciting times then, but with every Irish Oscar nomination there are inevitable follow-up questions. We will win, and who are our biggest competitors?
We have had our fair share of victories in the past. Who could forget the great Brenda Fricker, who happily accepted the trophy for Best Supporting Actress in 1990, for My left foot? We also remember Neil Jordan, who received the 1993 Best Original Screenplay award for cry gameand by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová won Best Original Song for ‘Falling Slow’ (from Once) in 2008. Everyone knows about Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscars (he has three of them).
Some of our best have gone all the way – but most have to accept the runner-up badge. For starters, the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have yet to award Ireland’s greatest living actress. The indomitable Saoirse Ronan has four Oscar nominations – one for Best Supporting Actress (for atonement), three for Best Actress (Brooklyn, Orange beetle, Little woman) – and did not win.
Likewise, the great Jim Sheridan always leaves empty-handed, despite being nominated for six Academy Awards for his work on My left foot, In Father’s Name and In America. The Kilkenny Cartoon Saloon-based animation giant boasts an impressive five Oscar nominations – and I’m sorry to see they missed out on their sixth this year for outstanding film. My father’s dragon. We can continue.
Michael Fassbender and Bono each have two Oscar nominations. Ruth Negga, Jessie Buckley, Stephen Rea, Ciarán Hinds and Liam Neeson each have one. Always a nominee, never a winner? Hardly – but sometimes, that’s exactly how it feels.
It seems odd to discuss and rate our favorite storytellers as if they were athletes or reality TV contestants. They are artists. But we did not initiate this conversation. Maybe for four months out of the year our favorite medium is reduced to a fun but undeniably addictive sporting event where the ‘winners’ give a speech and the ‘losers’ give a speech. ‘ were asked to sit and clap for their colleagues. It’s fun, but totally bananas.
Anyway, the only thing more interesting than talking about Oscar-nominated Irish is trying to predict how many will take home the gold. Of the 20 artists nominated for this year’s acting awards, five are Irish, and two feature a local legend pitted against a relative newcomer.
For Best Supporting Actor, the powerful Brendan Gleeson was recognized for his brilliant, soulful portrayal of a depressed violinist in Martin McDonagh’s film. Inisherin’s Banshees. His young co-star Barry Keoghan, who had the best performance of his career as a lonely village eejit, was also nominated.
Both nominations are well-deserved, but which of them will win? Not sure. All signs point to former Indiana Jones star Ke Huy Quan. The beloved Vietnamese-American actor is currently enjoying a career comeback with his critically acclaimed role in Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s award-winning sci-fi comedy, Everything Anywhere All At Onceand it’s hard to see who beat him to win that Oscar.
Meanwhile, Colin Farrell – also nominated for banshees – will cut his work in the category of Best Actor. Castleknock at its best is great in McDonagh’s movies. His fellow Irish contender, the one-of-a-kind Paul Mescal, delivered a spectacular performance in sundown. But Mescal will have to wait his turn.
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I don’t quite believe Brendan Fraser (the only good thing about Darren Aronofsky’s over-praised melodrama, Whale, which hits theaters in Ireland next week) is the leader in the category. For my money, it’s between Farrell and Austin Butler. The sensational role of the handsome California boy as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis was a performance too vivid to ignore. Heart says Farrell – brain thinks Butler.
In the Best Supporting Actress category, Tipperary’s Kerry Condon (the captivating, beating heart of banshees) may have to accept the inevitable: Angela Bassett’s energetic portrayal of Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda forever. If Bassett wins – and I think she can – that would make her the first actress to win an Oscar for a Marvel film (she’s already the first to be nominated).
So, how can writer and director Martin McDonagh succeed? As for Best Movie, I think it’s between banshees, Everything Anywhere All At Once and Fabelman’s house (see page 16 again). For Best Director, the Academy will likely award Spielberg for his best work in years. But McDonagh will do a good job of preparing the speech for the Best Original Screenplay.
We’re almost certain that Ireland will win the Best Visual Effects category, with Dublin-based animator and Ballyfermot University alum Richard Baneham nominated for his work. it’s back Avatar: The Road of Waterwith Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett.
Hopes are also high for Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s soothing presentation, Goodbye to the Irish, nominated for Best Live Action Short Film. An incredible lineup there – it all brings us to Colm Bairéad’s masterful Irish-language drama.
It says a lot about the warmth and goodwill that drove this particular Irish film, in a week where treasured icons and homegrown superstars cleaned up on the world stage, the title on everyone’s lips is An Cailin Ciuin (Quiet girl). But will it win Best International Feature Film? If it weren’t against Edward Berger’s extraordinary German epic, All is quiet on the Western frontit will probably be a shoo-in.
As it stands, Berger’s films may surpass Bairéad – but that doesn’t reflect the quality of this remarkable domestic production. Its success is unprecedented, and the buzz around it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Real, An Cailin Ciuin continues to amaze, and the real victory is in knowing that this great work has found its audience. That said, a win for Bairéad and Co would be fantastic – and can you imagine the reaction if they called out your name during the night? Jaypers, this place will be dancing.
Good luck everyone.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-news/oscars-2023-will-the-luck-of-the-irish-fall-on-our-deserving-hopefuls-42316493.html Oscars 2023: Will the fortunes of the Irish fall on our worthy contenders?