The Golden Globes and Oscars… how the Irish are taking over

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards took place this month and though the Irish walked away empty handed, we were undeniably noticeable at our breakthrough in one of America’s most prestigious award ceremonies.

Amongst the nominations were the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Caitriona Balfe and Michael Fassbender.

Saoirse Ronan, the Carlow native and the youngest Irish nominee at only 21 years of age, was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama for her outstanding acting in Brooklyn which is an adaption of the best-selling novel by Colm Tóibín. The story of an Irish girl immigrating to America in look for a better future brought the tale of many of our ancestors alive on the big screen. Her co-star in the film was fellow native actor Domhnall Glesson, who graduated with a BA in Media Arts from DIT before perusing his acting career.

Not only through her nomination is Saoirse promoting great Irish literature she also promoted Irish business when on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. When asked where she was when she heard she was nominated, the actress told Ellen and her 3.9 million viewers that she was getting her nails done in Dublin at Tropical Popical on South William St. Since then the nail salon has been inundated with calls and interviews.

Another piece of Irish writing which has been turned into a movie, is Emma Donoghue’s novel Room. The gripping story follows a boy and his mother who are held hostage in a garden shed and their attempt to escape with the 6 year old boy never having seen the outside world. The movie was up for Best Motion Picture-Drama, while the author Emma Donoghue was in the running for Best Adapted Screenplay and finally the American actress Brie Larson who plays the mother in the movie was nominated and won Best Actress.

Unfortunately the film lost out on Best Motion Picture-Drama to Leonardo DiCaprio for his film Reverent… well I suppose it’s not an Oscar but it’ll have to do (sorry I couldn’t leave that opportunity pass).

Caitriona Balfe, a former student of Theatre at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Drama for the hit American television show Outlander, which involves a World War II nurse in 1945 being transported back to Scotland in 1743. The show was also up for Best Television Series-Drama.

Finally Michael Fassbender whose mother hails from Northern Ireland and who grew up in Killarney, Co. Kerry was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama for his portrayal of Steve Jobs. His co-star Kate Winslet described him in her acceptance speech for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role as being “a legend”, truly there is no better compliment you could give an Irish person.

Unfortunately none of these actors won a Golden Globe, though they won something which is just as important: recognition.

We are a small nation, sometimes only being recognised as the blob on the map next to England. For Irish people to be appreciated for the great skills they have and to represent our country in America, while sitting next to acclaimed stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Al Pacino and Helen Mirren shouldn’t be taken lightly. The focus needs to stop being put on that we didn’t win, instead it should be on the fact that we had a chance of winning.

What’s more, nominations like these are massive for the film industry in Ireland. Both Brooklyn and Room have been funded by The Irish Film Board (IFB) with a success of €52 million box office takings for Irish movies worldwide. The Irish film sector also employs 6,000 people. With all this success it can only mean bigger and better things for cinema in Ireland.

And it’s already beginning to show with us being up for 9 nominations in this year’s Oscars. To name a few, Brooklyn and Room have both being nominated for Best Picture, while Michael Fassbender and Saoirse Ronan are both shortlisted for Best Actor and Actress.

Unfortunately with the recent announcements that the Government are planning a 40% cut in IFB funding from €20m in 2008 to €11m in 2015 could halt the momentum built up for 2016.

Speaking to RTÉ at the IFB launch in Dublin, Hickey said: “The Irish Film Board firmly believes that with additional funding we could continue to support the creative talent in this country. It’s really great to see such a breadth of Irish talent and we believe that with greater investment success will continue to be achieved.”


Room, Brooklyn and Steve Jobs are all out in cinema now.

While Outlander is available to stream online.

The Oscars will be taking place on the 28th February.

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