DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland celebrated a record 14 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, scooping five of the 20 acting spots up for grabs and for the first time earning a nod for a feature film made in the native Irish language.
The haul – which included nine nominations for “The Banshees of Inisherin”, the dark comedy filmed on a remote island off the western Irish coast – was the top item on Ireland’s flagship evening news programme, relegating politics to second place.
“Congratulations to all the Irish Oscar nominations. It is fantastic to see Irish creative talent achieving well deserved recognition on the world stage,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Twitter.
“Comhghairdeas mór leis An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) – the first Irish language movie ever to receive a nomination,” he added, using the native tongue to congratulate Ireland’s first ever nominee in the prestigious international film category.
Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan all earned their first Oscar ever nominations for “The Banshees of Inisherin”, while Paul Mescal joined Farrell in the best actor shortlist for the independent movie “Aftersun.”
Only the United States and Britain – with populations and film industries that dwarf Ireland’s – have been represented by five or more acting nominees in a single year in the awards’ near 100-year history, according to Reuters calculations.
Ireland was also well represented in the craft categories, including best visual effects and editing while former winner Martin McDonagh added to his growing Oscar CV with best director and best original screenplay nods for “Banshees.”
The film is also among the bookmakers’ favourites for best picture.
Particular pride was saved for An Cailín Ciúin, a film that has put a language spoken day-to-day by a small minority on the global stage and beat filmmakers such as four-time Oscar winner Alejandro Inarritu to the final international film selection.
“There was perhaps a notion out there that to make a film in the Irish language was a dead end creatively or commercially. I think that notion has been absolutely dispelled now,” director Colm Bairéad told the Irish Times as cast and crew celebrated in a local Dublin cinema.
“There’s no reason that Irish language filmmakers should limit their ambitions, they should be making films for the world.”
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)