Oscars 2023: Michael D Higgins praises ‘fantastic achievement’ of Irish film industry

This year’s Academy Awards ‘testament to the wealth of talent’ in sector, says Minister for Arts

President Michael D Higgins has congratulated the two Irish winners at this year’s Academy Awards.

Mr Higgins said it had been a “fantastic achievement” for Richard Baneham who won an Oscar for best visual effects for his work on the film Avatar while An Irish Goodbye won in the best live-action short category.

He extended his congratulations to all 14 Irish nominees and praised a “remarkable year for the Irish film industry as a testament to the hard work of so many people over recent decades”.

As the minister for arts in 1993, President Higgins re-established The Irish Film Board, now Screen Ireland.


“The success which we are seeing is built on the acquisition of skills and pursuit of excellence by all in the Irish film community,” he said.

He will now host a St Patrick’s Day reception celebrating the Irish film and television industry on Friday.

The Minister for Arts Catherine Martin said it was a “historic night” for Ireland, adding that the occasion is “testament to the wealth of talent that now exists in the Irish industry”.

Speaking from Los Angeles, California, where the Irish consulate and Ms Martin were hosting an Oscars viewing event for the Irish community, Ms Martin said the number of Irish nominees showed the strength in depth that is now in the industry.

“This evening’s ceremony has been a momentous occasion on so many levels; for the nominees who have received richly deserved plaudits for their creative endeavours; for the Irish film industry which is riding the crest of a wave; and for all of us in Ireland who are so proud of your achievements,” she said.

“The Oscars ceremony showcased our talent, our language, and the beauty of our country as a tourism destination to a global audience, and with the pipeline of exciting projects in production at the moment, there is no reason why we can’t be competing every year at the highest level, such is the creative talent within the country at the moment.”

Ms Martin is currently in Los Angeles as part of a major US trade mission to boost investment in Ireland’s film industry, tourism and culture.

Reflecting on Ireland’s historic Oscars win, Ms Martin noted that films such as The Banshees of Inisherin and An Cailín Ciúin and many other productions are attracted to Ireland as a result of funding support from the Section 481 film tax relief.

Ireland has also developed expertise in the areas of post-production and visual effects (VFX).

She believed the extension of the Irish film tax relief (Section 481) to the end of December 2028 will give valuable certainty to our film industry and is very welcome news for the sector.

The Minister of State with special responsibility for the Gaeltacht Patrick O’Donovan complimented the team behind An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) on being nominated in the Best International Film category.

The film, which is adapted from the Claire Keegan book Foster, was shortlisted for best international feature film. It lost out to the hottest of hot favourites All Quiet on the Western Front.

It is the first ever movie in the Irish language to get an Oscar nomination.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to commend TG4, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Screen Ireland for supporting the pipeline of high quality drama content in the Irish language, especially An Cailín Ciúin,” he said.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times