From Jimmy Kimmel’s joke about Dublin to Richie Baneham’s cúpla focal and even the appearance of Jenny the donkey from The Banshees of Inisherin, every Irish mention at the Oscars last night got a cheer.
The Irish Film Institute’s Oscar night watch party lapped up the entertaining 95th Academy Awards ceremony piped from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles all the way on to one of the big screens at the Temple Bar picture house in the heart of Dublin city centre.
On a night when Irish filmmakers laid claim to a 14 record Oscar nominations, the IFI felt it worth throwing a party for the industry and people who worked on the Irish films The Banshees of Inisherin and An Cailín Ciúin who could not travel to LA or snag a coveted ticket for the awards ceremony.
“Tonight is a celebration of the remarkable achievement this year with the unprecedented 14 nominations and to celebrate the industry back at home,” said Ross Keane, the IFI’s director.
Outside the IFI cinema showing the ceremony was a display of the yellow dress worn by the talented young actor Catherine Clinch in An Cailín Ciúin, the first Oscar-nominated Irish language film.
The film itself has been playing in the cinema for 10 months and, many weeks, it is the highest grossing movie at the IFI, Keane says, showing the impact this little movie has had on the public.
Among the guests at the party was Jo Homewood, a co-producer on The Banshees of Inisherin, who predicted that Everything Everywhere All at Once would sweep the awards as she arrived.
Pre-Oscar awards in the last couple of weeks running up to the Oscars had been “going in one direction,” she said.
She was proved correct; the comedy-drama sci-fi film won seven Oscars, including the main Best Picture award, breaking some of its own records along the way with Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian actor to win a best actress Oscar.
Nominated in nine categories, Banshees left empty-handed in the end. There was disappointment among the crowd at the IFI. The failure to convert the nominations for Banshees and An Cailín Ciúin into Oscars sucked the energy out of the room at the watch party.
“It is a tough night but it has been fun up to now,” said Homewood, presciently, before the ceremony.
All was not lost over the course of the night. The Irish took home two awards.
Tallaght man Baneham left his Irish mark on the ceremony by opening with a “go raibh míle maith agat” when he and his team won the Oscar for visual effects for Avatar: The Way of Water.
The biggest cheer of the night at the IFI was for directors Ross White and Tom Berkeley when they won best live action short film for the Northern Ireland comedy-drama An Irish Goodbye.
Nobody was taking anything away from the achievement of the record number of nominations and the worldwide statement that has made about the Irish film industry.
“I know we talk about a lot about punching above our weight but it is really remarkable that we have a quarter of the acting nominations from a small country like Ireland in the biggest celebration of the film industry in the world – it’s phenomenal,” said Keane.
Homewood believes that 14 nominations are unlikely to be repeated, but that this year will cement Ireland’s reputation as a filmmaking location, while the country’s landscape and tax breaks that help films get made will attract more projects and develop the Irish film industry further.
“To have 14 nominations for Irish films is a real reflection of the depth of talent that has been growing here over the years,” she said.
“It’s absolutely stunning.”