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Saoirse honoured as an Oscar voter

IRISH starlet Saoirse Ronan has been invited to join the elite list of Oscar voters in Hollywood.

The Lovely Bones star is just one of 20 actors offered membership of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Membership is usually reserved for those who have been nominated for an Oscar and is considered a huge honour.

Oscar-winning Avatar's visual effects artist, Dubliner Richard Baneham and Irish animator Darragh O'Connell who was behind Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty are also among those who have received invitations.

It is yet another endorsement from Hollywood for Darragh this week, whose Brown Bag Films secured a contract to produce the first original series for US cable TV channel Disney Junior.

Brown Bag was founded by Cathal Gaffney and animation director Darragh in 1994 and Darragh is joined by fellow animation invitees such as Shrek's Ken Bielenberg and Monsters Inc's Bob Pauley in the line up of new members.

And U2's Bono and The Edge were also given the nod for Academy membership.


Bono received his invitation under his real name Paul Hewson on the strength of his work on In The Name Of The Father and The Edge, aka David Evans, for GoldenEye with both men also submitted for their work on the soundtrack for Gangs Of New York.

Those who accept the invitation will be the only additions in 2010 to the Academy's roster of voting members. Saoirse (14) received her invitation from the Academy after her acclaimed roles in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones and Joe Wright's Atonement.

A total of 135 artists and executives have been selected because they "have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures" according to America's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"The work of these individuals has been appreciated by moviegoers all around the world," said Academy President Tom Sherak. "The Academy is proud to invite each and every one of them."

An Education's Carey Mulligan, Funny People's Adam Sandler and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds were also considered for voting rights.

The Academy's voting membership is currently just under 6,000.