Irishmen get nod for work on Avatar and Star Trek

TWO Irishmen were last night toasting possible Oscar success after they were nominated for their work on Avatar and Star Trek.

Dubliner Richie Baneham, who was animation director on Avatar, was nominated alongside his colleagues on the film Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum and Andrew R Jones in the visual effects category.

Also living in hope is Peter J Devlin, from Belfast, who is among the nominees for best sound mixing for his work on Star Trek. Mr Devlin has been nominated on two previous occasions, for his work on Pearl Harbor in 2001 and Transformers in 2007.

Baneham moved to Los Angeles from Dublin in 1994 and has worked on films such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and two of the Lord of the Rings films. Yesterday he paid tribute to Ballyfermot Art College.

“Ballyfermot was good training, we had no fear really in getting work in the animation industry – it was booming at the time,” he told RTÉ radio’s Liveline programme.

He worked for four-and-a-half years on Avatar and joked yesterday that he had worried about his sanity, such was the length of the project.

Speaking about Avatar director, James Cameron, who has already swept the boards at the Oscars in the past with Titanic, Baneham said: “He is a very nice guy. He is demanding in the sense that he knows what he wants. Jim is very much down the line with his vision.”

Among the first to congratulate Baneham on his success were his father Michael and mother Noeleen, who live in Tallaght.

The Oscars take place in Hollywood on March 7 and Michael said the nomination was due recognition for his son’s talent.

“It is not because of who he is, it is because of the talent he has,” said the proud father.

“Richie’s mates in Tallaght think the world of him. His feet are on the ground.”

Some of Richie’s classmates from Ballyfermot were nominated for their work with Brown Bag Films on Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, sparking hopes of joint celebrations next month when the winners are announced.

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