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Academy Awards

What Irish films and actors could be up for nomination at this year's Oscars?

Here’s a guide to what to watch out for.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 23rd 2023, 10:03 PM

THE BUZZ HAS been building for a few months, but tomorrow we’ll know who the nominees are for this year’s Oscars.

The 2023 awards are particularly interesting to Irish audiences because this year we have a fair few of our actors and filmmakers in the mix for nominations.

Here’s a guide to what to watch out for.

Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s latest film has been lauded by critics both at home and abroad, and the big support for it in the US looks likely to translate into guaranteed nominations (and most certainly, wins) across a few categories.

McDonagh himself looks likely to bag a Best Director nomination, and the film to be nominated for Best Picture. Those will be interesting categories, as also in the Best Director category are likely to be heavyweights like Steven Spielberg (though The Fabelmans isn’t exactly his most popular film, BUT it won Best Picture – Drama and Best Director – Motion Picture at the Golden Globes); relative newcomers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All At Once); Oscar-nominated Todd Field (Tár); and Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick). Also vying for a nomination will be newcomer Charlotte Wells (Aftersun), and Baz Luhrmann (Elvis). 

As for Best Picture, this category has 10 nominees and Banshees would most likely be battling the likes of Tár, The Fablemans, and Elvis for starters. But there’s a lot of love out there for Banshees, and its success so far at the Golden Globes and heavy presence in the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations augurs well. 

There’s also a LOT of love for Colin Farrell, who recently won a Golden Globe for his role in the film and charmed everyone with his speech. It’s all but guaranteed that he will get a Best Actor nomination, and many believe he will win. This would be his first Oscar nomination, and sure wouldn’t the nation be delighted with that?

His co-star Brendan Gleeson would be more likely to pick up a Best Supporting Actor, though that’s less guaranteed, depending on the Oscar expert you believe. The Academy (which is made up of almost 10,000 voters from within the film industry) might decide to pull a wildcard and nominate both men for Best Actor, though that’s unlikely.

It’s hoped that Barry Keoghan will get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor – or (wild card alert) share the space with Gleeson. It could be the case that Banshees of Inisherin was such a hit with Academy members that they nominate all of the cast, giving the film a good sweep of potential awards.

Indeed, Kerry Condon is pretty much guaranteed to grab a Best Supporting Actress nomination too. 

And then there are the other categories that the film is being mooted for nominations in, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design (that knitwear!), Best Original Score, and Best Editing. 

An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl

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There are huge hopes that among the nominees for Best International Feature will be the stunning Irish-language film An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl (the latter is its name internationally). 

Colm Bairéad’s film (produced by his wife Cleona Ní Chrualaí) has 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. So an Oscar nomination would be the cherry on top. (Here’s our interview with Colm Bairéad from last year)

Aftersun

While this is a UK film (directed by Charlotte Wells), it stars our own Paul Mescal, who has somewhat of a chance at a Best Actor nomination. Mescal (pronounced Mes-CAL like the drink, in the States) is a star who has really been on the rise in the US, and with good reason – he’s extremely talented.

This film is a total heartbreaker and if he gets nominated, he would truly deserve it. Whether this smaller film has been seen by enough Academy members to lead to a nomination is the big question. The fact it’s part of the hip A24 stable might help, as would Mescal’s place in the pantheon of hot new actors. Plus, the Academy members who vote for the Actor nominations are all actors themselves, and surely want to award the best at their craft. 

The Wonder

This Netflix film is based on a novel by the Irish writer Emma Donoghue (who’s based in Canada), so if it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay that would definitely be one we’d take for ourselves. (It’s also co-produced by Ireland’s Element Pictures and Screen Ireland, as well as the London-based House Productions).

British actress Florence Pugh is in with a small chance of a Best Actress nomination – but the competition in that field is very crowded so it’s a very small chance. Her competition would include Cate Blanchett for Tár and Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Yeoh seems to be the dead cert for winning this category, at this stage. 

Women Talking

Irish actor/singer/all-round talented performer Jessie Buckley would be our hope here – she might nab a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film. It’s an adaptation of a book by Miriam Toews (pronounced ‘Taves’), a Canadian author, about a group of women from a Mennonite sect who realise sexual abuse has been happening in their small community. 

There’s a really strong cast in this Sarah Polley-directed feature, and Buckley’s co-star Rooney Mara is in the mix for a Best Actress nomination. Other co-stars including Claire Foy and Frances McDormand would be Buckley’s competition for getting a nomination. Good competition to have, in fairness. Buckley was nominated last year for The Lost Daughter, so we know the Academy has a grá for her already.

My Father’s Dragon

Director of this animated film is Nora Twomey, who has previously been nominated in the Oscars for The Book of Kells in 2010. She’s a solid choice for a nomination, a talented director who this year is behind a Netflix production. 

So she might pick up a nomination for Best Animated Feature for her latest work. 

An Irish Goodbye

The Irish connection here isn’t just the title – one of this short film’s directors is Ross White, a Belfast-based actor. His co-director is Tom Berkely. This has already made the Live Action Short Film shortlist, and some critics believe this film is a set for a nomination in the category.  

So there you have it – and let’s not forget that as with all awards nominations, there are bound to be some surprises on the day. 

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