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‘Great Green Wave’: Celebrating Ireland’s Oscar Takeover 2023

It’s been a great year for Ireland at the Oscars: from acting to directing to visual effects, Irish films, filmmakers and stars have received 14 nominations. A quarter of the provisional nominees – Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Paul Mescal and Barry Keoghan – are Irish. And An Cailín Ciúin was the first Irish-language film to be nominated for an Oscar. JJ Abrams put it succinctly: “Seven million people are on this island and they’re all nominated.”

The director and producer is speaking at the 17th Oscar Wilde Awards, an annual banquet honoring Irish film production.It was hosted by the American-Irish Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes interstate relations, at Bad Robot in Santa Monica, Calif. – production company owned by Abrams and his wife, producer Katie McGrath.

The event is comfortable, the costumes are comfortable, but there is no shortage of famous names on the “green carpet” in the early evening. This year’s Oscar Wilde winners are Kerry Condon – nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for his role in The Banshees of Inisherin – as well as actors Jessie Buckley, who starred in the acclaimed film. nominated for Best Women Talking, and Eve Hewson.

So how does such a small island have such a large presence in the entertainment industry? “I think we are a nation of great storytellers,” said Catherine Martin, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, on the green carpet.“We are known for our art, culture and creativity” – not to mention the “one-of-a-kind” landmarks.

Mark Swift, producer of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, echoed Martin’s point about storytelling. He recalls his visit to his Irish family: “My grandfather had no TV or radio – people would come, they would tell us old ghost stories… they were just born artists. And this year, it all comes together.

The atmosphere was jubilant as the attendees strode from the green carpet into the party.A crowd of perhaps a few hundred people crammed into the two terraces, where they were served fish and chips breaded in Guinness, “not too traditional” Irish lamb stew and Kerrygold cheese; Desserts include bread and butter pudding and Irish whiskey coffee. Meanwhile, the evening’s winners received their prizes and took advantage of the opportunity to give actual speeches without fear of being played by the home orchestra (instead, having a well-formed group). founded in Dublin, The Coronas, the melodious rock band that filled the pitch when the speech was over). “who carried the whole movie on the shoulders of this 11-year-old girl.” Hewson joked about her gratitude for inheriting the “wonderful combination of rational confidence and chronic, numbing anxiety” that fueled creativity. Condon captured the upbeat mood she described that night, her voice almost lost after days of pre-Oscar celebrations, her early experiences in the United States. , watched drug ads and saw the police “walk straight out of Die Hard”.And
Buckley reflected on her career and community: “I’m Irish and very proud – but really, I’m proud to be part of an international group of supernatural aliens , magical, curious that I call my family.”

This strong sense of attachment pervaded the entire evening. Richie Baneham, an Irish visual effects artist nominated for his work in Avatar: The Way of Water, said he “could come here [in Los Angeles] because so many people came and back… All of our friends, many of the people you see here on the rug, are people we know and have come into contact with – everyone with whom we went to the same school is here. in the writing room.

Carrie Crowley, who stars in Quiet Girl, agrees: “There’s a really great friendship between all of us,” she said. “It looks like Team Ireland, you know – the big blue wave is rolling over Hollywood.

There are, of course, practical considerations that have helped fuel success. “This particular moment is the result of long-term investment and support and work – work in the industry, support from Screen Ireland and from the government,” said Susan Bergin, chair of Screen Ireland, the national agency funding film and television.

But she didn’t want to call the night a “culmination”: “We’re not resting on our laurels. We’re so proud of this. We want it to last.”

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