Saturday 18 November 2017

Lenny Abrahamson and Emma Donoghue talk Oscar nominations - 'There'll be a celebrity deathmatch outside with all the paddies'

Emma Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson have both been nominated for Oscars
Emma Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson have both been nominated for Oscars

Sasha Brady

Irish director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Emma Donoghue have spoken about their joy at receiving Oscar nominations today.

"We sorta just couldn't believe it. We still can't believe it," Abrahamson said to the Ray D'Arcy Show today.

In a momentous day for the Irish film industry, homegrown talent was honoured with nine nominations.

Abrahamson’s film Room ended up with four nominations, including best director, best picture, best actress (for Brie Larson) and best screenplay (for Emma Donogue).

"There was no certainty," he said.

"Room is a very subtle film. I knew what it took to make it but best director tends to go to obvious, big and flashy [pictures].

"I'm gobsmacked," he continued.

Emma Donoghue said she was also in shock but was more delighted about Abrahamson's recognition than her own.

"I did a gasp when I heard my name and I screamed when I heard Lenny," she told RTE Radio One.

"To see [Lenny's] name up there in that big five just brought tears to my eyes."

Both Donoghue and Abrahamson admitted they never imagined they'd be Oscar-nominated artists.

"I imagined it in the same way a child of 12 imagines scoring the winning penalty in the World Cup," joked Abrahamson.

"Best picture was the thing we most wanted. Ultimately, apart from the personal satisfaction, the real [joy] is getting this film to a wider audience. Best picture is the best thing you can stick on the poster," he explained.

In a momentous day for the Irish film industry, nine of the 27 nominations were for homegrown talent.

Apart from the four nods for Room, Brooklyn took three nomination. Stutterer by Irish director Benjamin Cleary was nominated for best live action short and Kerryman Michael Fassbender is up for best actor for his performance as the title character in Steve Jobs.

Abrahamson said it was a "huge testament to the Irish Film Board" whose budget last year was only €11 million.

"If the government had the vision to increase it, we could have absolutely world class film and animation," he said.

While the pair are adjusting to the good news, they admit their families and friends are also running through the full gamut of emotions.

"My mum rang me and she had to pull the car in. She's having a good aul cry at the side of the road so I hope she's okay. I'm going to ring her to make sure she got home okay," said Abrahamson.

Donoghue said her partner Chris was so tense while awaiting the nominations announcement that she busied herself with yoga poses to relieve her nerves.

The two also revealed that they'll be taking the time between now and the awards ceremony to enjoy their time with their loved ones.

"It can't get any better than this so I can just calm down now and be with friends and family," said Abrahamson.

He also joked there'd be a "celebrity deathmatch" on the night "with all the paddies".

"This is a lovely time full of hope and anything can happen," said Donoghue.

Abrahamson revealed that he'll be celebrating with Champagne today but Emma, who's not a drinker, will be celebrating with her favourite pastries.

"I'm not a drinker but I bought my favourite French pastry today. I bought two of them. I thought I can also console myself with them if there's no good news."

To which Abrahamson replied: "Well now you can eat them with joy."

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