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Ireland's Oscar Glories: A History Of Irish Academy Award Winners

We look at Ireland's long relationship with the Academy Awards.

Words by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

For a country with a relatively small cinematic output, Ireland has punched above its weight when it comes to bringing home Academy Awards, and once again this year the emerald isle is well represented with Lenny Abrahamson (Best Director - Room), Michael Fassbender (Best Actor - Steve Jobs), Saoirse Ronan (Best Actress - Brooklyn), Emma Donoghue (Best Adapted Screenplay - Room) and Short Film Stutterer all nominated.

Here's a history of Ireland's long relationship with Hollywood's big night:

1938 – Irish literary giant George Bernard Shaw received the Best Screenplay award for the screen adaptation of his play Pygmalion, which would of course later be adapted once more as My Fair Lady, a version which itself scooped no less than eight awards.

1940 – Cedric Gibbons, who had been raised in Dublin before leaving for the U.S as a teenager, won Best Art Direction for Pride and Prejudice. He was well acquainted with the Oscar by then, having designed the famous statuette himself in 1928.

1945 – Dublin thespian Barry Fitzgerald took home Best Supporting Actor for his role as a priest in Going My Way. Bizarrely, he had also been nominated for Best Actor for the same role, the first and last time this anomaly occurred.

1982 – Make-up artist Michelle Burke from Kildare scooped the Best Make-Up award for Quest for Fire. 11 years later she would receive a second, this time for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

1985 – Another win for Art Direction, this time Josie McAvin for her work on Out of Africa.

1989 – For her part as Bridget, mother of Daniel Day Lewis's Christy Brown, in My Left Foot, Brenda Fricker receive the Best Supporting Actress award.

1992 – Neil Jordan won Ireland’s second Best Screenplay Award for The Crying Game.

2005 – Martin McDonagh, who went on to direct the features In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, made his name in Hollywood, winning Best Short Film for Six Shooter.

2007 – Glen Hansard’s song Falling Slowly, written for the film Once, won Best Original Song.

2010 – Dubliner Richard Baneham was a member of the group who received the Best Visual Effects Award for their work on Avatar, still the highest grossing movie of all time.

Those of Irish descent have also fared well over the years, with Daniel Day Lewis, Grace Kelly, Anjelica Huston, Spencer Tracy, Sean Penn, and directors John Ford and John Huston among the list of winners.

Infographic courtesy of

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