Room and Brooklyn won the major awards
Irish movies Brooklyn and Room were among the winners at the BAFTAs on Sunday night. Brooklyn won Outstanding British Film and Room star Brie Larson won Best Actress.
Ironically, Domhnall Gleeson, who has prominent featured roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Revenant, and Brooklyn did not win any awards.
The John Crowley-directed Brooklyn was part funded by the Irish Film Board along with BBC Films and Telefilm Canada, among others, and was adapted by Nick Hornby from the Colm Tóibín bestseller of the same name.
Brooklyn is set in 1950s Wexford and New York and follows Saoirse Ronan’s character Eilis Lacey as she starts her new life in the US and must choose between the two lives on offer.
Hornby said outside the awards gala: “This film was really, really hard to put together. It was really hard for the producers – it took five years to get to production because no one would fund us.
“You have to sort of pinch yourself really to think that it’s made it all the way through to this.” Saoirse Ronan, already almost a movie veteran at 21, said she was surprised by the success of the film.
“I think there is a universality to just someone leaving home and even though it’s quite a beautifully simple story, it’s one that everyone can relate to – because everyone has gone through that experience regardless of where you came from and where you went to, we didn’t expect it to become quite as big as it has done but I can understand why people relate to it in the way they do.”
Brie Larson’s Best Actress win follows her Golden Globe Award for her role as ‘Ma’ in Room, based on the book by Irish author Emma Donoghue.
It tells the story of a young woman (Larson) and her five-year-old son (seven year-old newcomer Jacob Tremblay) who are held captive for six years in a tiny shed.
Room was backed by the Irish Film Board and co-produced by Dublin company Element Pictures.
Its author and screenwriter, Emma Donoghue, said of director Lenny Abrahamson: “This was a beautiful indie film we’d made and I thought it would have the fortune of most indie films. I didn’t know we’d get taken this seriously and that people would realise what a big film Lenny has managed to make out of a small setting.
“It’s just superb and such a testament to Irish filmmaking. I mean, the Irish Film Board has a relatively small budget, but by God, are the results beautiful.”
Leonardo DiCaprio won best actor for The Revenant, bringing the film’s awards total to five: Best Cinematography; Best Sound; Best Actor; Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu) and Best Film.