A record crop of nominations is a reward for decades of investment across the creative industries. The British government should take note
News that Ireland had hoovered up 14 Oscar nominations rang out this week from Louth to Limerick. Nine of them were for the black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, which finally overtook the national record of seven held since 1994 by Jim Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father. Such is the pile-up that Colin Farrell, who stars in Banshees as one of two feuding friends in a remote island community, will compete for the best actor gong with Paul Mescal, from the British-made father-and-daughter duet Aftersun.
Films about Ireland and its people are not rarities in the Oscar stakes: Kenneth Branagh’s British-made Belfast bagged seven nominations last year; an adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s emigration novel Brooklyn, co-produced by the UK, Ireland and Canada, took three in 2016, and The Crying Game, by Ireland’s most garlanded film director, Neil Jordan, was nominated for six awards and won one in 1993. Banshees is a passion project for its writer, director and co-producer Martin McDonagh, who is an international player, with three Oscar nominations and a win already under his belt.