'A golden age for Irish film' as we get a record nine Academy nods
The Irish flag will be flying high at the Oscars next month after our home-grown talent was rewarded with a record nine nominations.
Leading the charge and hoping to take home the gold is 21-year-old star Saoirse Ronan, who received her second-ever Academy Award nomination for her acclaimed role in Brooklyn.
The delighted actress described it as "the most personal film I have ever done".
"When we made Brooklyn, we had no idea of what was to come," she said in a statement yesterday.
"I am honoured to represent this film with my friends - John, Nick, Finola, Yves, Colm, Amanda. This has all been a dream. To see how the film has been embraced has been heart-warming. Thank you so very much to the Academy - you are a group of people I respect greatly and to be recognised by you means so much. Thank you."
For the first time in years, next month's star-studded ceremony on February 28 will see two Irish-funded independent movies competing for a precious golden statuette in two of the biggest categories.
Ronan's movie, set in 1950s' New York, also received a nod in the coveted Best Picture category, going up against another Irish film, Room.
Dublin director Lenny Abrahamson will make his Oscar debut after being nominated in the Best Director category for his work on the novel by Emma Donoghue - who got the Best Adapted Screenplay nod.
Ronan will be hoping to snatch the Best Actress gong from Room star Brie Larson while Donoghue will be fighting it out with Nick Hornby in the Screenplay category.
Kerry's finest export Michael Fassbender will be hoping to take home the gong he was denied for 12 Years a Slave after he was nominated for Best Actor for his role as Apple boss Steve Jobs.
His date for the night will be his Swedish girlfriend Alicia Vikander, who was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress for her stint in The Danish Girl.
In other Irish hopes, Benjamin Cleary has been nominated in the Best Short category for Stutterer.
Meanwhile, writer Donoghue, whose best-selling novel prompted her to write the screenplay, said she celebrated her nomination with a pastry.
"I'm not a drinker, so I bought my favourite French pastry. I bought two of them and I thought, 'I can always console myself with them if there's no joy,'" she said.
She was on live radio when the good news of her nomination first broke.
"I haven't had a chance to ring any human being. I've been on the phone doing interviews. There's no time for dancing in the streets with champagne bottles.
"I was talking to BBC Radio 5 and I was on standby for the interview and they played the nominations, so it was bizarre."
She said that her partner Chris had to calm herself down in the run-up to the announcement of the 88th Academy Award nominations by doing yoga poses on the floor.
Reacting to the news, the Irish Film Board have described it as a "golden age for Irish film".