Friday 15 December 2017

Brenda Fricker: best supporting actress in My Left Foot 1990

It has had a very travelled life. It has been lost in the back of taxis and it has been left in toilets

Brenda Fricker with her Oscar. Photo by Dave Meehan
Brenda Fricker with her Oscar. Photo by Dave Meehan

Brenda Fricker

'It changed my life because until then I was completely unknown, and suddenly the whole world knew my name.

It was like being flung into the middle of a hockey game when you don't know the rules. You try and keep your feet on the ground, stay sane. One or two people spit on you but, thank God, I'm blessed with real friends. I work hard at friendship.

When I was presented with the Oscar, I said: 'I'd like to thank Christy Brown for being alive, and his mother Mrs Brown. Anybody who gives birth 22 times deserves one of these.'

However, I turned down the opportunity to be dressed by Giorgio Armani for the Oscar presentation ceremony

Armani was going to get all the publicity, and he wasn't even ­prepared to give me the dress to keep.

I remember flying back on the plane in first class, still a little drunk. Bob Geldof or some famous person like that was on it as well.

I remember going into the cockpit and the pilot said to me, 'I'll let you fly the plane if you let me hold the Oscar'. I said, 'Of course'. I was delighted. I'm sure I thought I was driving the plane, but it was probably on autopilot, while he paraded around the aisles with the Oscar. It was just a mad flight.

I'm very proud of being the first Irish actress to win an Oscar. I'm very proud of the fact that it puts me into encyclopaedias and history books. It would have made my mother proud. Mind you, I'm probably prouder of the fact that my name is Dublin rhyming slang for knickers.

That little piece of luck, where your peers and fellow actors think you're good enough to get this little present, that pleased me no end. But the whole thing - it was just pure luck.

Sometimes I think it's a pile of shite.

It's nice to have your achievements recognised, but it's just a lump of cement coated in copper. Visitors to my home in the Liberties love it, though.

For a while the Academy Award was stored in a carrier bag under the sink, but now it is on a shelf. Eventually people pressured me, saying, 'Would you ever put a shelf up?', and I'm quite embarrassed by it being up there because I don't like looking at it. But it is safe up on a shelf now.

It has had a very travelled life. It has been lost in the back of taxis and it's been left in toilets. It's been left in pubs. I used to carry it around in a carrier bag because people would want to see it.

On one occasion the Oscar sank to the bottom of the swimming pool at the Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara, where I was shooting The Field with Richard Harris.

Before I won it, I hardly knew what an Oscar was. I was vaguely aware that it was something that happened in America, but no one back home in Ireland had one.

I found my sudden fame like going through the eye of a storm. It was quite frightening.'

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