NRL News

“Irish Goodbye” actor with Down syndrome on Oscar nomination

by | Jan 20, 2023


By Life Institute

A film shot in Antrim and featuring acclaimed Belfast actor, James Martin, who has Down syndrome, is now on a shortlist for an Oscar nomination.

Written and directed by Ross White, ‘An Irish Goodbye’ has now made it to the shortlist of 15 (from over 200 films) for an Academy Award nomination in the live-action short film category. 5 films will be picked at the end of January from that shortlist to be nominated for the Award.

‘An Irish Goodbye’ was the only Irish or British short to make the shortlist, and it has also been longlisted for a Bafta [British Academy Film Awards].

The star of the film, James Martin, told Channel 4’s Ruben Reuter that ‘Winning the Oscar would be a great birthday present’ as the ceremony takes place on his birthday.

People with Down syndrome or autism are well able to act, Martin said in the interview, saying “it takes time to practice, but turn that light on, and that’s what makes you a brilliant actor”.

Martin, who has won high praise for his comedic timing, also told ITV: “I would say to people who have autism,  Down Syndrome or some physical disability, I would say go for it, act your heart out.”

“Don’t let people say you can’t,” was his encouraging message to all aspiring young actors with disabilities.

Set against the backdrop of a working farm in rural Northern Ireland, An Irish Goodbye is a black comedy following the reunion of estranged brothers Turlough and Lorcan following the untimely death of their mother.

Under the watchful eye of odd-ball parish priest Father O’Shea, the brothers’ pained reunion is worsened by the fact Turlough must now make new care arrangements for Lorcan, who has Down syndrome.

A robust and dedicated farmer, Lorcan’s dream of continuing to work the land he grew up on is thwarted when Turlough decides he’s sending him to live with their Aunt on the other side of Ireland.

But when the brothers discover an unfulfilled bucket list belonging to their late mother, Lorcan senses an opportunity: he’ll only agree to leave the farm once he and Turlough have themselves completed every single wish on their mother’s list…all one hundred of them.

‘An Irish Goodbye’ will screen at film festivals from 2022.