Family affair for Colin Farrell and Irish hopefuls at Oscars

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: (L-R) Deputy Consul General, Los Angeles Lara Hallett, Pearce Cullen, Tom Berkeley, James Martin, Ross White and British Consul General in Los Angeles, Emily Cloke attend a celebration of the British nominees for the 95th Academy Awards at the British Consulate General Residence on March 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)© Getty Images

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Eugene MastersonSunday World

COLIN Farrell is making it as a family affair as he’s bringing almost his entire immediate relations to tonight’s glittering Oscars.

The Dubliner has already made public that sitting next to him in the front seats at the eagerly anticipated ceremony will be one of his two sons, Henry (13), with the pair set to wear matching tuxedos as Colin hopes to win the gong for Best Actor for his role of Pádraic Súilleabháin in The Banshees of Inisherin.

But we can exclusively reveal that joining them on the red carpet at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood and seated nearby will be Colin’s proud mother Rita and her husband Joel B Michaels, a Canadian film producer she married 10 years ago and lives with in Los Angeles, as well as the A-lister’s three siblings, Eamon, Catherine and Claudine.

Keenly watching at home will be Colin’s other son, James (19), whom he had with ex-girlfriend Kim Bordenave, while his father Eamon snr – who is divorced from Rita - is expected to be cheering him on from his house in Dublin.

Henry is an offspring of a relationship Colin (46) had with Alicja Bachleda-Curuś a Mexican born actress who grew up in Poland and whom he met while filming the movie Ondine in Co Cork in 2008. The teenager lives with Colin in his mansion in the Hollywood hills.

Ireland has a record 14 nominations at the 95th Academy Awards and our other proud nominees are also bringing various family members along.

Co Kildare actor Paul Mescal (27), who like Farrell is nominated in the Best Actor category for his role in Aftersun, is being joined his parents Dearbhla and Paul, as well as his siblings Donnacha and Nell. His mum is set to sit next to him in the front rows.

His dad works as a teacher, while his mum is a retired Garda. Brave Dearbhla is currently managing a bone marrow cancer condition and has put back chemotherapy until after tonight’s awards.

When she arrived at Los Angeles airport on Wednesday night she confirmed to us she was “excited” to be in the city for the first time to support her son, as she later amazed onlookers with her pluckiness as she shoved four large suitcase on a trolley while Paul snr eventually managed to track down their waiting limousine driver.

The couple spent the early hours of Friday evening (yesterday morning Irish time) walking in rainy conditions as they excitedly explored Hollywood’s star-spangled Walk of Fame.

Dubliner Brendan Gleeson (67), who is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Banshees of Inisherin, will be accompanied by his wife of over 40 years Mary.

Co Tipperary actress Kerry Condon (40) will have her younger brother Roddy seated next to her as she vies to win Best Actress for her role as Padraic’s sister Siobhán in The Banshees of Inisherin.

The Thurles native has lived in L.A. for almost 15 years. She is a major animal lover and owns a horse farm on the outskirts of the city. Insiders maintain that Kerry channelled much of her anguished emotion in the film after the death of her beloved dog Peggy, which passed away shortly before filming began on Achill Island and Inishmore.

Dubliner Barry Keoghan (30), who like Condon won a BAFTA award for his role in The Banshees of Inisherin, will be joined tonight by his Scottish girlfriend Alyson Sandro, as he hopes to pull off a double in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The couple, who have a one-year-old son, Brando, recently moved to Alyson’s home city of Dundee, although Barry still owns an apartment in London’s docklands and proudly maintains close links with Dublin’s north inner city, where he was raised and where he is nicknamed ‘Hollywood’ by his pals

The Banshees of Inisherin has nine nominations in total and its writer and director, Martin McDonagh (52), is set tonight to bring along his partner, actress and writer Phoebe Waller- Bridge.

Extended family members will also accompany our other Oscar hopefuls, the cast of An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl), which is up for Best Foreign Language film and the first time an Irish language movie has been included in that category.

Its 13-year-old star Catherine Clinch is being joined in the theatre by her older sister Anna (17), who acts as her chaperone. Their parents, Tom and Méav, are with them in L.A. but as they are unable to get tickets will watch the ceremony elsewhere.

Northern Ireland filmed An Irish Goodbye, which is in the Best Live Action Short Film category, also has a strong representation with its principle actors Seamus O’Hara and James Martin going along tonight.

Dubliners Richie Baneham, who is nominated for Best Visual Effects for Avatar: The Way Of Water, and Jonathan Redmond, who is up for Best Film Editing for Elvis, are also bringing their nearest and dearest (Richie’s parents proudly showed off on the plane when they flew over from Dublin to L.A. the iconic BAFTA statuette their son recently won).

Many of the major Irish stars, such as Farrell, Gleeson, Mescal and Condon, attended a dinner yesterday evening for the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s 21st Annual Night Before.

This year’s host committee includes Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Angela Bassett, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, with others guest including Austin Butler, Brendan Fraser, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Downey Jnr and Tom Hanks

Sadly, there will be no ‘red-carpet’ television coverage of our stars at tonight’s build-up by Ireland’s three TV networks currently in L.A., which all have crews in California covering the Oscars countdown for the hopefuls vying to win one of 23 Oscars up for grabs.

That’s because RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4 all balked at the cost of a camera position outside the Dolby theatre. While slots were free up until 2017, the cost now ranges from an estimated E75,000 to E500,000 depending on the size of the networks, which moneybags British outlets such as Sky and the BBC are well able to afford.

Ironically, this year’s red-carpet section will actually be coloured champagne, breaking a tradition that dates back to 1961.

Ireland is favourite among movie industry experts and bookies to win Oscars in three categories - Best Screenplay for London-Irishman McDonagh, while Baneham is odds on favourite to win his second Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his latest Avatar work, and An Irish Goodbye is leading the field in the in Best Live Action Short Film section.

Brendan Fraser (The Whale) and Austin Butler (Elvis) are believed to be neck and neck with each other in the Best Actor category, while Cate Blanchett is seen as a shoo-in for Best Actress (Tár).

Everything Everywhere All At Once, which has a mostly Asian-American cast along with Jamie Lee Curtis, is heavily tipped win Best Film, Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) and Best Supporting Actor (Key Huy Quain) as well as to come out tops in several other categories, including Film Editing.

Germany’s All Quiet On The Western Front, which swept the boards at the BAFTs, is runaway favourite to win Best Foreign Language Film at the ceremony, which is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and at which Rihanna among others will perform.

Carrie Crowley, who plays a distant relative who for a period looks after the quiet young girl Cáit in An Cailín Ciúin, stresses tonight is a celebration or the Irish acting industry, no matter who wins or doesn’t.

“I think it’s wonderful that we are here in Hollywood with a film in the Irish language,” Carrie, who is attending the ceremony alongside fellow star Seamus Bennett, director Colm Bairéad and producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoí, told us at the Irish themed Oscar Wilde party in L.A. , which was attended by honourees Kerry Condon, Jessie Buckley and Eve Hewson

Arts Minister Catherine Martin, who led a delegation to L.A. which has just announced that Limerick has won its bid to host in September the global Cineposium film conference, admits she is thrilled with how well Ireland is doing in the industry.

“It’s a really exciting week for Ireland, the eyes of the world are on us,” she told us. “It’s hard to believe 14 nominations - we are certainly punching above our weight and I’m here to engage in multiple meetings to really benefit on this opportunity.”

Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons believes there will be a windfall from tourists exploring the west of Ireland after seeing the majesty scenery in The Banshees of Inisherin.

“Screen tourism as we call it in general is the gift that keeps on giving to us,” he confirms. “If you were here nearly 10 years ago we would have been talking about Star Wars and Game of Thrones, we had the biggest series on the small screen and the biggest film on the big screen.

“We’ve since had the likes of Normal People, Viking’s Valhalla and Disenchanted, and now Banshees. It’s wonderful.”

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