Oscars: ‘You have to mark an event like this,’ Lenny Abrahamson says

Director calls on the next government to invest in the Irish film industry

Pictured celebrating four Oscar nominations for Irish film Room are director Lenny Abrahamson, his wife Monika, and James Hickey, chief executive of the Irish Film Board at a party in the Lighthouse cinema last night.Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Pictured celebrating four Oscar nominations for Irish film Room are director Lenny Abrahamson, his wife Monika, and James Hickey, chief executive of the Irish Film Board at a party in the Lighthouse cinema last night.Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

Oscar nominated Director Lenny Abrahamson has called on the next government to invest in the Irish film industry.

Two Irish films have been shortlisted for Best Film at this year’s Oscars, with Irish films securing a record nine nominations in total.

Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, and Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, are on the Best Picture shortlist. Abrahamson is also shortlisted for Best Director.

Mr Abrahamson was speaking at the Lighthouse cinema in Smithfield Dublin on Thursday night, to celebrate Room’s nomination.

“You have to mark an event like this, you can’t let it pass,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Irish Film Board called on the Government to reverse funding cuts introduced during the financial crisis.

At a presentation in Dublin attended by prominent film directors, producers and actors, the acting chair of the board, Annie Doona, described 2016 as a “watershed moment” for the Irish film industry.

“We have a tiny industry here in Ireland. Huge credit must go to the Irish Film Board for strategically using the tiny amount of money they have been allocated and using it so well. I hope now that the next Government has the vision to really invest in this sector as we could have a world class film TV and animation industry in this country and it’s something we do so well,” he said.

Mr Abrahamson said he was not expecting to be nominated for best director.

“The absolute best thing we were hoping for was that Brie Larson would be nominated but to have four major nominations was so unexpected and amazing.

“It’s an amazing day for the Irish film industry with nine nominations for Irish people or people connected to Irish productions which is more than any other nationality apart from the states,” he said.

“Room is a very subtly made film and directing awards tend to go to the flashier stuff but it’s the Director’s section of the academy that make the decision so I’m very proud they can see something in what I directed and wanted to rewarded it.”

Elsewhere Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan told RTE it was “ a huge honour and to be recognised for a second time… it’s unreal. I think to have gone through something like that when you’re younger is great but to a certain extent is does go over your head a little bit which is good, I think.”