Tag Archives: oscars

At A Glance – 2015 Best Picture Nominations in The Academy Awards – the Oscars!

American Sniper
Directed by Clint Eastwood


Eastwood has fine-tuned the harrowing journey. Here he has a beefed up Bradley Cooper giving an intimate glimpse of how real-life Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle’s successful military career emotionally affected his domestic life back in the U.S. between his many tours. Eastwood balances the conflict and domestic scenes with skill. While both sides of Kyle’s life are well crafted and full of different types of tensions I never fully warmed to the characters and the film left me exhausted.


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

A dizzyingly shot story of the fictitious, once famous, superhero actor Riggan (Michael Keaton) and his quest to be taken seriously by his audiences, friends and family. This is a highly enjoyable and dark romp, a great supporting cast and cracking dialogue. Shot mostly with interiors gives the atmosphere a claustrophobic quality reflecting Riggan’s struggles as he attempts to put on a broadway play and juggle the different parts of his fractured life. The cinematography and CGI is excellent at creating the impression that the film is almost one continuous shot. But ultimately the journey is better than the destination.


Directed by Richard Linklater


Linklater charts the growth of his main character Mason (Ellar Coletrane) and the story of his family in a brave approach by shooting and basing the film in bursts over a 12 year period (2002-2013). It is filled with natural story arcs and great period music with such subtle year changes that you can sometimes it takes more than a few moments to realise that we have moved into the next phase of their lives. The ensemble cast is perfect (in particular Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). Linklater delivers a slice-of-life movie that leaves others in the genre like crumbs on a plate. Eat your heart out reality T.V.


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes Anderson

Back to his best since “The Royal Tennenbaums” Anderson has put together my favourite film of the eight. It centres on the morally questionable exploits of, Gustav H (Ralph Feinnes), the manager of the imaginary hotel in question. In Fiennes he has found a lead actor who wears Anderson’s quick fire dialogue like an old glove. Each frame is a visual masterpiece the zany humour and adventures do not let up until the credits start to roll. My full review here.


The Imitation Game
Directed by Morten Tyldum


Benedict Cumberbatch pours much of his Sherlock character and then some into his portrayal of the brilliant and fragile character of the Father of Computer Science Alan Turing. The narrative jumps between three parts of his life focusing mainly on Turing’s code-breaking time during the Second World War in Bletchley Park. Tyldum puts together the film much like a code dropping clues here and there that will all eventually slot together into an unexpectedly emotional final bow. There are some wonderful examples of dialogue subtext in Turing’s interrogations. Of all the nominated films based on real events this is my personal favourite. My full review here.


Directed by Ava DuVernay

A powerful drama based on the defining battle in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement between Martin Luther King Junior (an excellent David Oyelowo) and President Lyndon B. Johnson ( the wonderful Tom Wilkinson) in the town of Selma. The film manages to deal with the national politics of the day down to minutae of small personal battles of minor characters without overcrowding the narrative or confusing the audience. While the film has been criticised for some historical inaccuracies it is still a powerful drama with excellent performances.


The Theory of Everything
Directed by James Marsh

Eddie Redmayne looks like he was born to play Professor Stephen Hawking. Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde. Remayne is astounding not only in his physical resemblance to the brilliant Professor but in the portrayal of the particular and well known way the physical decline of Motor Neuron Disease has left Professor Hawking. The main emphasis of the film lies in the emotional impact of the disease had mainly on his wife Jane (a touching performance by felicity Jones) as she struggled to raise their children. Though Hawking’s brilliance is evident his mathematical work in Cosmology is more of a supporting ‘character’.


Directed by Damien Chazelle

Andrew, young drummer, (Miles Teller) with hopes to impress Fletcher, a ruthless college orchestra conductor, at all costs. Chazelle has sculpted a compelling battle between mentor and student, so much so that the scenes when the two are not together seem flat. Teller, looking like a buffed up Wil Wheaton, is convincing the talented drummer whose hero worship of the greats compels him to make poor life choices. J K Simmons is stand out as the brutal mentor. I have never been so excited to see someone take to the drums. His makes for a compelling drama with a wonderful finale.

My top films here for overall performances, filmmaking and enjoyment levels are The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel and I feel the Oscar for Best Picture should land firmly land in the magnificent Boyhood.

Every Irish Winner At The Academy Awards – The Oscars!

(updated 2020)

In the wake of the 2013 Academy Awards  I searched the internet but could not find a definitive list of Irish winners in Oscar History. I opened the Academy Awards site and searched though the history of the awards, Googling every Irish, English, and Scottish sounding winner’s name.

If, by chance, I have missed anyone please leave a comment below!

(This post has been viewed by 3,000+ people and no one has come back to me yet.)

Included are people born in Ireland, Northern Ireland and those who hold dual citizenship with Ireland and another country.



won 11 Best Art/Set Direction Oscars between 1930 and 1956

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1930)
The Merry Widow (1934)
Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
Gaslight (1944)
The Yearling (1946)
Little Women (1949)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Julius Caesar (1953)
Somebody Up There Likes me (1956)

Born in Dublin, Gibbons moved to study in New York and is credited with the design of the Oscar statuette.


Best (Adapted) Screenplay Pygmalion (1939)

Born in Dublin, Shaw was the first person to receive a Nobel Prize and an Oscar and held that record until Bob Dylan matched his success in 2019.


Best Actor in a Supporting Role Going My Way (1944)

Born in Dublin, Fitzgerald was the only actor ever nominated for the Academy Award for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in the same year for the same role. After he received this double nomination, the Academy immediately changed their rules to prevent this from happening again, rules which have remained unchanged to this day.


has won two  Oscars.

(shared) – Best Makeup Quest for Fire (1981)
(shared) – Best Makeup Dracula (1992)

Born in Kildare, Michèle holds a US, EU and Canadian Passport she is also fluent in English, French, Spanish and some Irish.


(shared) – Best Art Direction Out of Africa (1986)

Born in Ireland, McAvin presented the IFI Irish Film Archive with her Academy Award and Emmy statuettes, along with a collection of books, photographs and sketches that she had collected throughout her distinguished career.


the only actor to have won three awards for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

Best Actor My Left Foot (1989)
Best Actor There Will Be Blood (2007)
Best Actor Lincoln (2013)

Though he was born in the UK Day-Lewis is also an Irish Citizen and lives here in Co. Wicklow.

Here are a few roles which he turned down:

Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), a role in Terminator Salvation (2009), Jor-El in Superman: Man of Steel (2013), lead role in Mary Reilly (1996), a role in Cutthroat Island (1995), the lead role in The English Patient (1996), Simon Templar in The Saint (1997).

The late and great Sir John Gielgud had this to say about Day-Lewis,
“He had what every actor in Hollywood wants: talent. And what every actor in England wants: looks”.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role Actress My Left Foot (1989)

Born in Dublin Fricker was once heard to say
“When you are lying drunk at the airport you’re Irish. When you win an Oscar you’re British.”


Best Original Screenplay  The Crying Game (1993)

Born in Sligo, Jordan is quoted as saying,
“I’m fascinated by monsters, monstrous people and fascinated with illogic and irrationality.”


Honorary Academy Award in 2003

Born in Connemara, on accepting the award O’Toole, at 78, vowed to
“…win the lovely bugger outright”.


Best Documentary Short – A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin (2006)

Though born in New York, Marrinan holds dual Irish & U.S. citizenship, and as part of her acceptance speech she said,
“I’d like to thank the Academy for seating me next to George Clooney at the nominee’s luncheon.”


Best Short Film (Live Action) Six Shooter (2006)

Born in the U.K., McDonagh holds both Irish and U.K. passports. Since moving into film, McDonagh has frequently used actors that have also appeared in the original theatre runs of his plays.


(Shared) Best Song Once (2008)

Born in Dublin, Hansard was the first Irishman to win an Oscar for Best Song. He was offered a shot at the part of Rorschach in Watchmen (2009) but had to bow out due to the fanfare surrounding his Oscar nomination (and ultimate win) for song “Falling Slowly” from Once (2006).


(as part of a team) – Best Visual Effects – Avatar (2010)

Born in Ireland Baneham worked as an animator or animation supervisor for the following films, The Iron Giant, Cats & Dogs, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and oversaw the animation of the character of Gollum) on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.


Father and Daughter

Best Short Film (Live Action) The Shore (2012)

Born in Belfast, Terry George is quoted as saying,
“Film today is more and more concentrated on the amusement park element. If a writer can attach an actor or a producer who has some clout, then you can arm yourself. Otherwise, a script simply becomes a road map to attract money and talent.”

Maureen O’Hara


Honourary Achievement Award 2015

Born in Ranelagh, Dublin as Maureen FitzSimons she mentioned three men in her acceptance speech who shaped her career, Charles Laughton, John Wayne and John Ford. O’Hara is quotes as saying

“I made John Wayne sexy. I take credit for that.”

Benjamin Cleary


Best Short Film (Live Action) – Stutterer (2016)

Benjamin Cleary is an Irish writer, director and producer from Dublin.

During his acceptance speech Cleary said:

“Every day is a proud day to be Irish, but today even more so… Sláinte!”


BONUS Trivia from 2020

There was no Irish Oscar winner in 2020 but we still managed to score well!

Irish composer Ms. Eímear Noone became the first woman to conduct an orchestra at the Oscars!

Eímear Noone

You may also enjoy Every Irish Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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