The Irish film took home the award for Best Short Film at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, and the filmmakers’ speech was a highlight of the night.
Last night, at the 95th Annual Academy Awards, An Irish Goodbye took home the prize for Best Live Action Short Film — and the filmmakers’ wholesome speech is one we’ll never forget.
It was an evening that we had hoped would be all about the Irish. However, though it received nine nominations, The Banshees of Inisherin took home no awards. Instead, the short film An Irish Goodbye was Ireland’s only major success at last night’s ceremony.
An Irish Goodbye is a black comedy about estranged brothers who find their way back together after the death of their mother, Grainne.
Turlough (Seamus O’Hara) returns to his home town in rural Northern Ireland after Grainne’s death, planning on selling the family farm. However, his brother Lorcan (James Martin), who has Down’s Syndrome, isn’t too pleased with his plan.
What follows is a rather Irish battle of wills that is both morbidly comic and, ultimately, profoundly heartfelt. Lorcan refuses to leave the farm until Turlough helps him complete Grainne’s bucket list. The pair take their mother’s urn on a series of adventures and, in the process, Turlough rediscovers his bond with Lorcan and with rural Northern Ireland, too.
The film was written and directed by Tom Berkeley and Ross White and filmed on location.
White and Berkeley both took to the stage to accept the award for Best Live Action Short, along with the film’s star, James Martin.
“Deary me,” exclaimed an overwhelmed White as he accepted the Oscar. “Thank you so much to the Academy for this incredible, incredible honour. Thank you to our fellow nominees, all the nominees, for your work that inspires us so very, very much.”
“Thank you to everyone back home in Northern Ireland, you helped us make this film”
He went on to give a shout out to Northern Ireland. “Thank you to everyone back home in Northern Ireland, you helped us make this film,” he said passionately. “We wish we had the time to list you all here, but you know who you are.”
After this brief speech, White gave the floor to Berkeley — even though the filmmakers were given just 45 seconds to speak, it turns out, the filmmakers had chosen to use most of their time to honour their star, James Martin.
“This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it’s this man’s birthday,” said Berkeley, putting an arm around Martin. “He’s out here in Hollywood wearing a leopard print suit jacket. We’d love to use the rest of our time up here to sing for James,” he went on with a grin.
And with that, the filmmakers led the entire audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” as an emotional Martin stood holding his Oscar statue gazing out at the crowd of A-listers. As the song came to an end, Martin spotted Colin Farrell in the audience and shot him a thumbs up, which Farrell promptly returned with a grin.
It was a delightful, incredibly sweet moment that will go down in Oscars history. Trust the Irish to keep things down to earth at Hollywood’s glitziest event of the year.
As one viewer noted on twitter, “the guys who made An Irish Goodbye used their Oscar acceptance speech to have every A-lister in Hollywood sing Happy Birthday to their star, James Martin. iconic!”
The Banshees of Inisherin may have missed out on any of the awards, but we can’t underestimate the importance of this win (and the adorably wholesome speech that came with it) for Ireland.