Arts Minister Martin Cullen led tributes to animator Richard Baneham today after he won the Oscar for best visual effects on the blockbuster film 'Avatar'.
The Dubliner, who won a Bafta award in the same category last month, was honoured for design work on the James Cameron movie – the most financially successful film in cinema history.
“Richard is one of Ireland’s most accomplished animators and winning this much-coveted award is a great personal success and a further recognition of the talent available in the Irish film industry either working at home or abroad,” said Mr Cullen.
“Both Richard’s Academy award and his recent Bafta will inspire young Irish creative animators and all those working in, and committed to art, design and the digital media in Ireland.”
Baneham trained at Ballyfermot College and was one of five Irish nominees at this year’s Oscars.
Simon Perry, Irish Film Board chief executive, said the success in the US awards was an inspiration.
“The Academy has already acknowledged the exceptional talent of Irish film-makers with five Irish nominations, but for Richard to win an Oscar is international recognition at the highest level,” Mr Perry said.
“We are delighted for Richard and his team. It is inspiring to see that the fires of Irish talent continue to burn as brightly as ever.
“This award is a further reinforcement of Ireland’s reputation for creativity and innovation.”
Other Irish hopefuls, 'Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty', 'The Secret Of Kells' and 'The Door', lost out in their categories at the ceremony in Los Angeles.