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Irish Oscar glory

Dublin's Oscar hero Richard Baneham says he has two people to thank for his success -- his loyal parents.

Richard, who won for blockbuster smash Avatar, was today preparing to toast the award with his family and friends at Dillon's Bar on Hollywood Boulevard.

"It's quite a surreal feeling, it doesn't feel real until they put it in your hand," Richard said this morning.

"It's very weird, when you are handed it you get a feeling of being completely serene. Then you think, 'Jaysus, it's real'.

"I'll hopefully get to actually have a beer and celebrate properly," he added.

His parents, Michael and Noeleen, travelled over to Hollywood to be with Richard's wife, Aisling, at the awards.

And Michael said that he felt honoured to see his son take the podium and accept the award.

"I had so much pride for him. His mother cried tears of joy," Michael said.


"I had to just get away for a few minutes and my thoughts were what a fantastic achievement it was for him, his wife Aisling and his three children.

"He put the Oscar into my hand and he said, 'Dad, this is yours as much as it is mine'.

"Then he handed it to his mother and said the same thing," he added.

"He gives back to where he has come from. And now Ballyfermot, Tallaght and Dublin are all on the map in Hollywood. He doesn't forget about his grassroots."

Father-of-three Michael, who jetted back to LA for the awards last week, attended the Senior Art College in Ballyfermot before moving to Los Angeles 16 years ago.

"I hope that some of the students will get some inspiration from this," Richard said.

"You can do pretty much anything you set yourself. Get out there, do it, do the work honestly and see what can come out of it."

Richard, originally from Old Bawn in Tallaght, took home the award with partners Joe Letteri and Stephen Rosenbaum and Andrew R Jones after beating off competition from Star Trek and District 9.

He was one of five Irish nominees from five different film nominations, however Avatar's big upset came from war drama The Hurt Locker.

"You have to be happy with what you get. It's understandable that The Hurt Locker got so many because of the political climate that is here at the moment," Richard said.

The Irish contingent based in LA is now setting up for a monster party at the local pub.

"I don't think anyone is going to work today," Michael said. "We're having fish and chips and a nice pint of Guinness."

This morning, neighbours in Old Bawn said that they were enormously proud of the animator.

Jan Sullivan, a neighbour of the Banehams in her 60s, said that the community were waking up to the good news.

"We're delighted for him and his family. They're terrific neighbours and fully deserve their win," she said.

"The whole family are lovely and great members of the community. Everyone is really chuffed for them." Maura Ryan, a neighbour, also in her 60s, said that the family have been a great support to her and now they are enjoying success.

"We've only just heard it, it's amazing. It's really fantastic news," she said. "They're such lovely people. It couldn't happen to a nicer family."

On the fashion front, metallic strapless gowns, pastels and sequins were the key trends at this year's star studded Oscars. Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock looked more than Oscar worthy in her silver and champagne embroidered vintage Marchesa gown with striking red lips.

But it was newly single Charlize Theron who grabbed the spotlight with her cleavage-enhancing Dior gown.

The South African actress was clearly keen to make a statement in her figure-hugging, pink, custom-made John Galliano frock after splitting from her long-term love, Dublin actor Stuart Townsend recently.

Bling was kept to a minimum this year in favour of more subtle jewellery.

Penelope Cruz was one of the few to opt for colour and stood out in her deep red Donna Karan dress, with pastel colours leading the way on the red carpet. Demi Moore, Anna Kendrick and Rachel McAdams all opted for muted tones.

Cameron Diaz made sure she was the last to walk the red carpet but was just one of dozens of princesses to sashay towards the Kodak Theatre in an embellished strapless sweeping ball gown, including Jennifer Lopez and Amanda Seyfried. Both actresses wore toned down versions of Lady Gaga's Armani Privé Grammy's dress.

Known for her love of age inappropriate clobber, Miley Cyrus looked older than her 17 years in a gold bustier Jenny Packham dress.

Veteran Meryl Streep was age appropriate in her white draped gown, her sexiest red carpet look of the season.

Additonal reporting by Claire Murphy and Cormac Byrne