22 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Jim Sheridan, Lenny Abrahamson and Ed Guiney on having “three teams left in the World Cup”
13 Jan 2016 : Seán Brosnan
Directors Jim Sheridan (left) and Lenny Abrahamson (right) talking to Irish Film Board Chief Executive James Hickey (centre)
With Irish films ‘Room’, ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘Viva’ very much in the Oscar conversation, Irish directors Lenny Abrahamson and Jim Sheridan and producer Ed Guiney have spoken about Irish films “special moment”.

The filmmakers were speaking at an event at the Clarence Hotel where the Irish Film Board launched their 2016 slate of productions.

Oscar nominated writer/director/producer Jim Sheridan, whose film ‘The Secret Scripture’ will be released in 2016, said: “I think it’s important to realize that having ‘Room’, ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘Viva’ in the Oscar conversation is like having three teams left in the last 24 of the World Cup. If this was soccer and Ireland were in the last 24, the whole country would be behind them. It’s a great achievement for everyone.”

All three films have had great success on the festival circuit with ‘Room’ and ‘Brooklyn’ both touted by many international publications as very serious Best Picture Oscar contenders. ‘Viva’ is also featuring on many critics lists as a potential Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee and it has made the shortlist of nine films, whittled down from 81 last year. Aside from that, ‘Brooklyn’ lead actress Saoirse Ronan is widely expected to receive an Oscar nomination, as is Irish actor Michael Fassbender for ‘Steve Jobs’. ‘Room’ lead actress Brie Larson is currently seen as the Oscar frontrunner and Irish born author turned screenwriter Emma Donoghue is also a potential Oscar nominee for adapting her own novel in a category that may also include ‘Brooklyn’ writer Nick Hornby.

Echoing Sheridan’s statements, ‘Room’ director Lenny Abrahamson said: “Irish film is really having a special moment right now. I have been on the festival circuit internationally with ‘Room’ since Telluride in September and almost everywhere we go – journalists and people in the industry are asking – ‘what is going on in Ireland?’. It’s extraordinary. They recognise the talent we have – an extraordinarily disproportionate amount of talent for the size of our country. Internationally, it’s hugely commented on but I just feel at home we have not done a good enough job on getting that out there.”

Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney, Lenny’s long-time collaborator and producer of ‘Room’, said: “It was very interesting after the Golden Globes that so many Irish publications and websites stated that Irish projects and stars ‘lost out’ because we didn’t win any awards. I think that’s completely missing the point. A nomination is as good as a win. To have your film in the conversation is a massive achievement. What Jim is saying is absolutely correct. We have three teams in the last 24 of the World Cup. I don’t know any other country outside of the US that has so many films in the conversation. It’s phenomenal.”

Abrahamson added: “Win, lose or draw tomorrow afternoon (at the Oscar nomination announcements) – what we have achieved as a country is already extraordinary. To have this number of films representing Ireland at such a high level is fantastic.”

The Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday, January 14th.

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