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Screengrab from the film TG4
an cailín Ciúin

An Cailín Ciúin becomes first ever Irish language film to be nominated for Oscar

The film stars Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley, and Andrew Bennett.

LAST UPDATE | 24 Jan 2023

AN CAILÍN CIÚIN has become the first ever Irish language film to be nominated for an Oscar. 

Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams announced the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards live from Los Angeles this afternoon. 

Among the nominees for Best International Feature was the stunning Irish-language film An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl (the latter is its name internationally). 

It has been nominated alongside: 

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Argentina, 1985
  • Close
  • EO

Colm Bairéad’s film (produced by his wife Cleona Ní Chrualaoí) had been shortlisted for the category, and even though it was first screened last February the love for it has grown and grown, with it has featured in a number of prominent US film publications.

It’s also cleaned up at the Irish box office, and been one of the biggest film hits of 2023.

Set in rural Ireland in 1981, the film follows Cáit as she is sent from her overcrowded, dysfunctional household to live with distant relatives for the summer.

The film stars Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley, and Andrew Bannett.

It was produced by Inscéal, in partnership with Screen Ireland, TG4, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Speaking on the film’s Oscar nomination, Bairéad and Ní Chrualaoí said that “this is a truly historic and meaningful moment for Irish film, the Irish people and the Irish language”.

“Never before has an Irish film been nominated in this category. Never before has Irish-language art been given such a platform,” they said.

“This film has been an extraordinary labour of love and it has been a joy to see audiences the world over take it into their hearts,” they added.  Our sincere thanks to the members of the Academy for embracing An Cailín Ciúin / The Quiet Girl and giving her a voice.”

Ní Chrualaoí described the nomination as “surreal”. 

“It’s kind of hard to take it all in. I think it’ll take a while for the penny to drop. What a day, it’s been phenomenal. We were very worried and kind of a nervous, we were never complacent about being nominated or anything like that.., we never felt it was 100% or anything by any means,” he said. 

“[Before the announcement] was electric. We were just saying that even if nothing happens today, what a day to celebrate. It’s just so special to have everybody back together again. We were saying, we never got to have a wrap party. So this is a wrap party in a way,” Ní Chrualaoí added. 

We had a lot to celebrate anyway, but this is obviously just the icing on the cake.

“We didn’t want to let the country down; we didn’t care about our own feelings, in a way it was more like you just didn’t want to disappoint people. We felt the weight of expectation on us, and I suppose Irish people they were right all along – they kept saying, oh, you know, you’re a shoo-in, it’s definitely gonna get nominated. But you know, we kind of couldn’t go there ourselves. We couldn’t just let ourselves go there fully,” she said. 

The next big event is the Baftas, where the film is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Not in the English Language. After that, the team will head to LA for an Oscar nominee luncheon.

Asked about the message the nomination sends out, Ní Chrualaoí said: “It’s so great today that there’s been a spotlight on Irish film and particularly Irish language film. It just shows that if you work hard and if you believe in something, if you’re passionate, you can go anywhere. I guess it’s just about believing in what you can achieve – and [that] nothing is impossible.”

She also noted that today is a “significant day” for the Irish language, particularly as Irish is the only minority language that has been featured in that Oscar category.

“It’s an amazing feeling” for Irish speakers like herself and her husband, director Colm Bairéad, that the language has been given such a platform, said the producer.

TG4 Director General Alan Esslemont said the film has touched the hearts of cinema-goers throughout the world. 

“Colm Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoí have created a classic masterpiece and have become a huge source of pride for those of us who speak this minority language and for all those people worldwide who understand the importance of a thriving Irish language for Ireland’s culture and creativity,” Esslemont said.

“The road towards the Oscars has been opened by Colm and Cleona and today we celebrate the global resonance of that huge achievement.”

Minister for Culture and Arts Catherine Martin said today is “a wonderful day for the Irish film industry with such a record number of Oscar nominations”.

“An Cailín Ciúin and the Banshees of Inisherin showcase Ireland’s culture, scenery and creative talent at its best,” Martin said. 

“I congratulate all of the Irish nominees and wish them well on Oscar night. It is an historic day for the Irish language and I look forward to Oscar night when the world will hear the Irish language spoken in a nominated film,” she said. 

With reporting by Aoife Barry

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