Irish at the Oscars

It’s that time of year again and the Oscar nods arrived this morning. Among the contenders for Best Picture this year is Philomena, the true story of Philomena Lee’s search for her son after a clandestine adoption under the shadow of the Catholic Church and Irish State. Much of the movie was filmed in Ireland and, as we told you about in our last issue, highlights the troubled history of the adoption of unplanned babies by American families at the behest of the Church in Ireland from the 1940s to the 1970s. Dame Judi Dench, who plays Philomena Lee also received a nomination for Best Actress for her part in the movie. Philomena also received nominations for Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay (it was adapted from the 2009 book of the same name by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith).

Kerry native, and Ireland’s favorite German, Michael Fassbender got his well-deserved first Oscar nomination today for Best Supporting Actor in the film 12 Years a Slave, in which he plays a plantation owner in pre-emancipation Louisiana. In addition to Fassbender’s nomination, 12 Years a Slave received eight other nominations, including Best Picture (for which it is favored), Best Actor for the brilliant English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Best Directing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

This year U2 also received a nomination from the Academy for Best Original Song. “Ordinary Love” appears in the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is favored to win after receiving the Golden Globe for the song last weekend.

Finally, the long-underrated Matthew McConaughey (here’s the Irish Times movie critic Donald Clarke’s retraction) whose father comes from a mix of Irish, Scottish, English, and Swedish ancestors, received a Best Actor nomination for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey plays Ron Woodruff, the real-life Texas cowboy turned AIDS patient turned prescription drug smuggler at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The film has received five other award nominations as well, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

The 86th Annual Academy Awards is live on ABC March 2nd. For a complete list of this year’s nominees, visit: http://oscar.go.com/nominees

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