Tuesday 26 September 2017

'Stutterer' film made on shoestring wins Oscar for Dubliner

Screenwriter Benjamin Cleary (L) and actress Chloe Pirrie in attendance at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, Hollywood, California. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Screenwriter Benjamin Cleary (L) and actress Chloe Pirrie in attendance at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, Hollywood, California. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Actress Brie Larson wins Best Actress for 'Room' during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and Kate Winslet attend the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California
Actor Michael Fassbender (R) and guest attend the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Irish director Benjamin Cleary was the triumphant underdog at the 2016 Oscars.

In the run up to the 88th Academy Awards all eyes were on Saoirse Ronan - but it was Rathmines native Ben who walked away with a shining statuette for his short film 'Stutterer'. It was an impressive feat given it is the first film he ever made and cost just £5,000.

The 32-year-old wrote, directed and funded the project and said accepting the award in front of some of the biggest names in the film industry was "a pretty emotional moment".

"Every day is a proud day to be Irish but today more so than usual. So everyone for all the support back home thank you so much," he said.

Cleary was inspired to write about a man with a speech impediment after witnessing the struggles of a childhood friend.

"I had a friend growing up who had a severe stutter - that must have stuck with me," he told the Irish Independent last month.

Yesterday, his alma mater St Michael's College congratulated him on the win. "The entire College community, and especially the class of 2002 are delighted with Ben's wonderful success," a spokesperson said.

'Brooklyn' star Saoirse Ronan (21) missed out on the Best Actress award which went to Brie Larson for her harrowing role in Irish co-production 'Room'.

Ronan previously attended the Oscars as a teenager in 2008, when she was up for best supporting actress for her part in 'Atonement'. She described attending as "surreal".

Lenny Abrahamson missed out on Best Director which went to Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Michael Fassbender lost out on the Oscar for Best Actor but his girlfriend Alicia Vikander picked up Best Supporting Actress.

Irish Independent

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