IRELAND’S Culture Minister toasted an “historic night” for Ireland as the nation scooped two Oscars at the annual Academy Awards.
The cast and crew of the short film An Irish Goodbye and Richard Baneham’s visual effects team from Avatar: The Way of Water both won gongs at the 95th instalment of the awards, which took place in Hollywood last night.
Minister 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 Minister was hosting an Oscars viewing event for producers, film executives and the Irish community, she said: “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 added: “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.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State with special responsibility for the Gaeltacht, Patrick O' Donovan TD, 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 German language first world war film All Quiet on the Western Front on the night, but it remains the first ever movie in the Irish language to get an Oscar nomination.
Minister O’Donovan, said: “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.”
Minister Martin is currently in LA 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, the Minister noted that films such as The Banshees of Inisherin and An Cailín Ciúin - both nominees at last night's ceremony - and many other productions are attracted to Ireland as a result of funding support from the Section 481 film tax relief.
The Minister added that post-production and visual effects (VFX) has become a leading area of expertise in the Irish screen industry, with talent being recognised at home and on the global stage.
“The extension to 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,” she said.
“The tax relief scheme is central to the record number of Oscar nominations secured by Irish films and filmmakers this year.”
Minister Martin’s trip is deemed a “key part” of the Irish government’s St Patrick’s Day programme this week.
It includes meetings with world leading US studios and production companies, including Sony and Disney, which includes representatives from Marvel, Searchlight and Lucas Film.
“The trade mission aims to build on the recent critical success for the Irish screen industry and the recognition of Irish talent on the world’s stage,” the Department confirmed.
“The Minister is using the visit to strengthen working relationships between the Irish screen sector and some of the world’s largest film studios and production companies, as well as strengthening Ireland’s reputation as a global tourist destination,” they added.