'There are two red carpets, one for the stars and one for everyone else'


Sitting at the Oscars, 15 rows from the front, ‘we all just held hands in anticipation’ for ‘one of those moments when you clench the buttocks a little bit’, says ‘Granny O’Grimm’ nominee DARRAGH O’CONNELL

NICKY PHELAN and myself had a fantastic night. There’s not a shred of disappointment about not getting the award, and we had a sense of people’s reactions at home from the amount of messages and goodwill we were getting. It was incredible.

But the best moment of the whole night was when we walked into the pub, Dylan’s, where all the Irish had gathered. When we arrived we had to walk up a big staircase, and as we did we got a huge cheer. People were coming in and out all night, and Richie Baneham came over, so everyone got to get a picture with the Oscar and to hold it.

Before the awards there were so many of us going that we didn’t have enough room in the limo, so myself and my wife Lina said we’d drive ourselves. But Richie had room in his limo, and we jumped in with him.

The red carpet was surreal. There are actually two red carpets, one for the stars and one for everyone else – where there are people ushering you, almost kicking you down it. But sometimes you just have to be pushy, so we told them we were nominated and they said it was no problem. So we walked down the star’s side, with Keanu Reeves and Matt Damon and all these people being interviewed. We could take our time.

It’s a lot of fun soaking up the atmosphere and watching the fans. Lina was really blown away by it. All of us men look the same, but it’s really about the girls, who looked great.

Inside, there’s really only time for one glass of champagne before the show starts. We had really good seats – about 15 rows from the stage – and a great view of everything. We were sitting with the cast of Avatarand could see everyone else, including Tomm Moore [director of The Secret of Kells] and Richie.

At our award, we all just held hands in anticipation and the moment when they say “And the winner is . . . ” is just one of those moments when you clench the buttocks a little bit. The winner [ Logorama] was a bit of surprise. It’s not that it’s not a good film – it is great – but it’s controversial, so it was a surprise in that sense. But to have got to the last five films is something we’re still really pleased with.

Afterwards, there was a party, the Governor’s Ball, that everyone goes to, but we were a bit starred-out at that stage, so we gave our tickets to a couple of others from Brown Bag and just went to Dylan’s. It was like walking into a surprise party. It was just great, because everyone has really got to know each other over the past week or so.

My brother was there and he had actually just snuck off to Las Vegas and got married. The joke was that he had stolen my thunder. But it was there to be stolen, and they were the toast of the night! We stayed there, because we were just burned out from the whole day.

Richie had invited us to the Fox party, and when you have an Oscar it gives you access to any party you want really, but – and I know this sounds strange – we’d seen enough stars. We stayed in Dylan’s until about 2.30am, but the party did go on well after we had left.

In conversation with Shane Hegarty