The Hollywood award season is in full swing, and the Irish are making their usual strong showing. Up for an Academy Award for best screenplay is Hotel Rwanda, which also was up for a Globe as best drama. Rwanda, written by Terry George and Keir Pearson, and directed by George, is the story of a hotel owner who takes in over a thousand Tutsi refugees in their struggle against the Hutu militia. (See story page 34)
There were also multiple nominations for those of Irish ancestry in the Golden Globe Awards. Liam Neeson was nominated for best actor in a motion picture for his role in Kinsey. Neeson played the title role of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the research of sexual behavior.
The consequences of sex is also the topic of British actress Imelda Staunton’s role in Vera Drake, for which she was nominated. Set in the mid 1950s, Drake grapples with the issue of unexpected pregnancies for the less fortunate in a difficult time.
Staunton traces her Irish roots to Mayo. Her parents emigrated to London from Bohola just before she was born.
The special effects and sound were a key part in the popular appeal of Spiderman 2, and Kevin O’Connell is certainly getting the respect he deserves. He is up for the Oscar in the sound mixing category for his work with the webbed wonder. O’Connell orchestrated the sound so that the Marvel superhero had an aura of omnipresence. The audience never knew where or when he would enter a scene, making for a thrilling viewing experience.
Valli O’Reilly also worked behind the scenes, and she is up for the Oscar for best makeup. Her work was on the new movie Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This box office smash is based on the popular children’s books of the same name. Differing from usual Nickelodeon fare, the film is quite dark and depicts very gothic looks, which O’Reilly beautifully represented.
For costume design, Alexandra Byrne certainly made a name for herself, gamering an Oscar nomination for her work on Finding Neverland. This film depicted the story of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. There were two major aspects Byrne had to incorporate. As well as the period costumes for Barrie, and the four small Davies boys with their widowed mother, she also had to design the plays within the movie. The film’s tagline is “Use Your Imagination,” and Byrne did just that. ♦