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Ireland's Top 5 most memorable Oscar moments

We bring you some of the best Irish moments from the Academy Awards.

Brenda Fricker with her Oscar in 1990
Brenda Fricker with her Oscar in 1990
Image: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE 83RD ANNUAL Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood tonight and Irish interest will focus on director Michael Creagh.

Creagh’s short film The Crush, about a schoolboy’s crush on his teacher, was nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category last month ahead of tonight’s star-studded ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

While we will all be hoping that Creagh can pick up a famous golden statuette tonight Ireland isn’t short on great moments at the Oscars.

We look back on some of Ireland’s most memorable moments at the Academy Awards:

1. Peter O’Toole wins at last…sort of

The legendary O’Toole, most famous for playing Lawrence of Arabia, holds the dubious honour of being nominated eight times but never winning an Oscar, a record. But he was given a well  deserved Honorary Academy Award in 2003 whilst still vowing to “win the lovely bugger outright” eventually. Watch his acceptance speech here.

2. Ireland’s first Oscar winner

Barry Fitzgerald was the first ever Irish person to win an Oscar for his performance as Father Fitzgerald in the multi-award winning film Going My Way in 1944.

Fitzgerald also holds the unique honour of being the first and only person to be nominated in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories for the same film. After that happened the Academy changed the rules.

3. Brenda Fricker wins Best Supporting Actress

Brenda Fricker became the first and only Irish actress to take home the legendary golden statuette when she won Best Supporting Actress in 1990 for her role as the mother of Christy Brown in My Left Foot, a film nominated in the Best Picture category that same year.

Daniel Day-Lewis, the son of an Irishman, also won Best Actor for his portrayal of Christy Brown.

In her acceptance speech, Fricker thanked Brown’s real life mother saying: “Anyone who gave birth 21 times would deserve one of these.” Watch:


4. Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard win Best Song

The duo’s song Falling Slowly from the film Once won Best Original Song in 2008 making Hansard the first Irish-born artist to win in that category.

The clearly shocked and emotional Hansard rambled on for too long in his acceptance speech that his poor partner Irglová had her speech ended before she’d even started.

Thankfully she was allowed to come back and say her bit. Watch it here.

5. Give Up Yer Aul Sins

Okay so it didn’t win but we’re still baffled as to how the Academy could resist this delightful nominee for Best Animated Short Film in 2001.

Give Up Yer Aul Sins is based on original recordings of young children in Dublin schools in the 1960s as they tell the story of John the Baptist in their own unique and wonderful way. Watch:


Have we missed any? Let us know your favourite Oscar moments, Irish and non-Irish, in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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