By Catherine Wylie, PA
Michael D Higgins has marked the success of the Irish winners and nominees at the 2023 Oscars by hailing a “remarkable” year for the Irish film industry.
He congratulated those behind An Irish Goodbye which took the award for best short film, as well as Richard Baneham who was among those who won the Oscar for visual effects for Avatar: The Way Of Water.
The black comedy An Irish Goodbye follows the story of two estranged brothers coming to terms with the death of their mother.
Its co-directors led a chorus of Happy Birthday for the film’s star James Martin after it was announced as the winner at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The film also won the short film category at this year’s Baftas.
President Higgins said: “May I congratulate An Irish Goodbye and Richard Baneham for their fantastic achievements in winning the Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Visual Effects Awards respectively at last night’s Oscars ceremony.
“May I further extend my congratulations to Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, Jonathan Redmond and all involved with An Cailin Ciuin and The Banshees Of Inisherin for the exceptional recognition of their work which being nominated for an Academy Award constitutes.
“This has been a remarkable year for the Irish film industry and is a testament to the hard work of so many people over recent decades.
“It is particularly welcome to see the recognition which the Irish film industry is receiving on what is the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board, now Screen Ireland, in 1993.
“The success which we are seeing is built on the acquisition of skills and pursuit of excellence by all in the Irish film community.
“As a gesture to all that has been achieved, and the important contribution of the film and related industries to Irish life, Sabina and myself look forward to hosting a St Patrick’s Day reception celebrating the Irish Film, Audio-Visual and Performing Arts Communities at Aras an Uachtarain this Friday.”
Saturday Night Live under fire
The writers and performers on a popular US comedy show have been criticised for a set of "offensive" jokes about Ireland during a skit ahead of the Oscars.
Irish film fans will be hoping for glory at the awards show on Sunday evening following a record-breaking 14 nominations for the likes of The Banshees of Inisherin, An Cailín Ciúin and An Irish Goodbye.
However, many have been left with a sour taste in their mouths after watching the Saturday Night Live pre-Oscars skit, which aired in the US overnight.
During the 3.5 minute sketch, the cast portrayed Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as unintelligible due to their language and accent – with the punchline being that the duo "hadn't started drinking yet".