Friday 2 December 2016

'My legs went to jelly, it was absolutely mad!' - 'Stutterer' director Benjamin Cleary on Oscar nomination

Published 26/02/2016 | 10:29

Director Benjamin Cleary
Director Benjamin Cleary

Irish Oscar hopeful Benjamin Clearly has revealed his "legs went to jelly" when he heard his short film Stutterer had been nominated for Best Live Action Short at this year's Oscars.

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The film has made it to the final ten contenders from a long list of 144 films and was written/directed and largely funded by the Dublin director himself.

Given the small scale of the project, Ben was shocked to be nominated for the most prestigious award it could receive on the planet.

"My legs went to jelly, it was absolutely mad," he told Anton Savage on Today FM about receiving the call. "We never thought our little film would go anywhere near... You just don't think about this kind of thing.  We're all in this weird, surreal place."

Above: Director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Benjamin Cleary. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Irish Film Board
Above: Director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Benjamin Cleary. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Irish Film Board

Ben is currently in LA negotiating the pre-Oscars party circuit with the other nominees, including Irish contenders Lenny Abrahamson and the Brooklyn team.

"It's great to see such brilliant films being given the recognition they deserve," says Ben.  "It's a real honour for me to be mentioned in the same sentence with those people."

Actor Matthew Needham appears in a scene from Stutterer, directed by Dubliner Ben Cleary.
Actor Matthew Needham appears in a scene from Stutterer, directed by Dubliner Ben Cleary.

Ben's film revolves around a young man who has a severe stutter.

He explains, "We get to hear his inner voice. He's unable to speak face to face but he's got this sort of inner world in which he's eloquent, witty and charming and we get to hear that through voiceover.  That's the main thing we wanted to explore. 

"He has this online relationship with a girl for six months and early on she surprises him saying she's come all the way to London and would he like to meet in person for the first time.  It throws his world into chaos and it's a will he or won't he go and meet her with various twists and turns."

The young director worked with Casualty actor Matthew Needham as well as Chloe Pirrie and Eric Ricahrd.

As well as cast and crew, his brother and best mate are flying out to LA to enjoy the celebrations too.

"It'll be good to have the gang here, head out for a bit of dinner tomorrow, there's a few various parties so we'll go to them and we won't be thinking too much about Sunday until it comes around.

"It's nerve-wracking but exciting as well.

"It's a mad aul buzz!"

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