Oscars 2023: An Cailín Ciúin shortlisted for best international film

Donald Clarke: Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language movie continues a remarkable run by becoming one of 15 titles vying for an Academy Awards nomination

Colm Bairéad’s An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has been selected as one of 15 titles on the shortlist for best international film at the upcoming Academy Awards. The film-makers will now be looking towards January 24th, when the five films nominated for the award are announced.

This continues a remarkable run for the Irish-language release. Following its premiere at Berlin Film Festival in February, An Cailín Ciúin went on to pick up the audience award at Dublin International Film Festival and eight prizes at the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards on its way to accruing more than €1 million at the Irish and British box office. It opened in the United States last week to ecstatic notices; it is currently registering as the sixth-best-received film of the year on the review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Adapted from Claire Keegan’s long story Foster, the picture follows a young girl spending the summer with distant cousins in rural Ireland. Catherine Clinch, who plays the title character, was today nominated as best young performer by London Critics’ Circle.

An Cailín Ciúin is the first Irish-language title to land on the shortlist for best international feature film – formerly best foreign-language film – and the second Irish submission to make it so far. Paddy Breathnach’s Viva, a Spanish-language production, made the list in 2015 but was not ultimately nominated for the Academy Award.


“We are absolutely thrilled that An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl has been shortlisted,” Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoi, the film’s producer, said. “We are particularly proud to be the first Irish-language film to have achieved this. What a historic moment for Irish-language cinema! We feel privileged and honoured to continue to represent Ireland as An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl bids to secure a nomination at the 95th Academy Awards.”

Bairéad’s film has some strong competition but stands a decent chance of making it to the awards themselves. Also on the list are Lukas Dhont’s Close, a hugely moving tale of fractured teenage friendship, from Belgium; Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a kinetic adaptation of that famous anti-war novel, from Germany; Alice Diop’s Saint Omer, a courtroom drama, from France; and Park Chan Wook’s Decision to Leave, a Hitchcockian thriller, from South Korea. Oscars watchers see Close, which had the audience weeping in the aisles at its Cannes premiere, in May, as the slight favourite for the award.

In an eccentric and always controversial process, each country is invited to submit just one film for the category. Ninety-three films were this year put forward. The International Feature Film Preliminary Committee views the eligible submissions and votes by secret ballot to produce the shortlist. The International Feature Film Nominating Committee now views the 15 shortlisted films and votes to determine the five nominees. Any member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who has viewed all five nominated titles is eligible to vote for the Oscar itself.

Shortlists were also announced in a number of other categories, including original score, sound and short films. Richard Baneham, from Tallaght, an Oscar winner for visual effects on Avatar, was back on the team for Avatar: The Way of Water, inevitably a shortlisted title in that race this year.

Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s Ulster drama An Irish Goodbye makes it on to the shortlist for best live-action short film. James Martin, Seamus O’Hara and Michelle Fairley star in a drama that has toured the world’s festivals.

The 95th ceremony looks set to abound with Irish talent. Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon all seem like plausible acting nominees for The Banshees of Inisherin. Jessie Buckley stands a good chance of a nod for Sarah Polley’s Women Talking. Paul Mescal is knocking on the door for Charlotte Wells’s adored debut, Aftersun. Cartoon Saloon, in Kilkenny, is bidding for its fifth straight nomination in the best-animated-feature category with Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon.

The Academy Awards take place at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles, on March 12th. Jimmy Kimmel will host for the third time.

Best international film at the 95th Academy Awards: The shortlist

  • Argentina: Argentina, 1985
  • Austria: Corsage
  • Belgium: Close
  • Cambodia: Return to Seoul
  • Denmark: Holy Spider
  • France: Saint Omer
  • Germany: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • India: Last Film Show
  • Ireland: An Cailín Ciúin/The Quiet Girl
  • Mexico: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
  • Morocco: The Blue Caftan
  • Pakistan: Joyland
  • Poland: EO
  • South Korea: Decision to Leave
  • Sweden: Cairo Conspiracy
Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist