Monday 24 June 2019

Going wild for the Oscars as Irish hopes score big


Element Pictures shareholders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe
Element Pictures shareholders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

The nominations for this year's Academy Awards have been announced, and in the super-saturated media world we inhabit nowadays, this of itself is a story.

So we heard, for instance, Element Pictures head honcho Ed Guiney on The Ray D'Arcy Show (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 3pm) after his film The Favourite landed a very impressive 10 nominations. We might bemoan the fact that the preamble to Oscars night now gets quite extensive coverage.

But in fairness, for any movie to bag a round 10 nominations - including biggies such as Best Picture, Director, Actress and Screenplay - is pretty major. When it's an Irish film, and two compatriots are in the running - Guiney as producer, Robbie Ryan in cinematography - even more so.

Guiney told Ray D'Arcy that the folks at Element were "optimistic" beforehand, although "you never want to be too confident". He added, with a nice touch of modesty: "We thought we'd get a few alright."

Amazingly, The Favourite has been in development for two decades: "Quite unusual", Guiney admitted, "but not unheard-of by any means." Let's hope all that time and effort pays off.

Kilkenny's Cartoon Saloon also snared their fourth trip to the Oscars, in Best Animated Short. A rather more problematic story, however, was another Irish nomination, for Vincent Lambe's short (live action) film Detainment.

Moncrieff (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 2pm) described it as "fascinating", but the film has been the source of strong criticism for its take on the infamous Jamie Bulger murder of 1993 - including from the victim's mother Denise Fergus.

Lambe admitted there was "a lot of controversy about it", but insisted that "a lot of it is based on misinformation… people think it's a different film to what it is, and hopefully when they see it, that'll defuse a lot of it".

He added that he "thought long and hard" before making it and "wanted to be responsible"; the screenplay, based on transcripts of police interviews with killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, is "entirely factual". All well and good, though the ethical question of whether or not a movie such as this should be made at all remains unanswered.

Things went in reverse as real-life encountered one of those stories which seem more fictional than actual. The News at One (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1pm) spoke to British reporter Tom Morgan about the search for Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala.

He was last seen boarding a light aeroplane which subsequently went missing over the English Channel. Meanwhile, BBC Five Live's Football Daily podcast heard that a vigil was taking place at Nantes, Sala's old club, but at the time of writing, the prospects were not good.

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