Highly Animated

IRELAND has a lot of good things to be animated about for a change with two Irish made films – The Secret of Kells and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – among this year’s Oscar nominations.

Highly Animated

Another Irish-made film, The Door, is also up for the best live action short film.

The Secret of Kells made the top-five for the best animated feature film of the year, while Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty is nominated for the best animated short film.

The 82nd Academy Awards take place on March 7 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and will be hosted by actors Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

Since its release last year, The Secret of Kells, which features the voices of Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally, has been lauded around the world, gaining awards and praise from both critics and the public.

The 79-minute film, produced by Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, follows 12-year-old Brendan played by Evan McGuire, a mischievous monk, who lives with his uncle, Abbot Cellach, played by Brendan Gleeson.

Paul Young, a partner with Cartoon Saloon and a producer on The Secret of Kells, said the surprise nomination gave the film a new lease of life ahead of it being released in the US in March.

“We really did not expect to be nominated. We knew we were short-listed with 20 other films but they were produced by major studios that have the money and power to make sure lots of people see them,” he said.

Mr Young believed The Secret of Kells, co-produced with Les Armateurs in France and Vivi Film in Belgium, hit a grassroots following in Los Angeles when it was shown there just before Christmas and the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences voted for it.

“I think it just went down very well with them over there,” he said.

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, a six-minute film, was produced by Darragh O’Connell for Dublin-based Brown Bag Films and said it felt like lightning struck twice as Give Up Yer Aul Sins got an Academy Award nomination in 2002.

“Everyone in the studio is just so excited. We are all in the pub now celebrating and that is likely to go on for a few days,” he said yesterday.

Brown Bag recently secured a €5 million deal with British entertainment group Chorion to produce a new children’s cartoon series called the Octonauts that will be broadcast on the BBC later this year.

Brown Bag Films also produced the Irish Examiner’s television ads for its GAA rugby, and soccer coverage.

Mr O’Connell said he really believed that Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty was “in with a shot” for an Oscar.

“I know all of the other films and they are brilliant. Last time round we were beaten by Pixar, one of the biggest animation companies in the world. This time they were not nominated so we feel it is a slightly more open field,” he said.

The Arts Council congratulated all the Oscar nominees, which also included Richie Baneham, an Irish-born animator who is among the nominees for best special effects for his work on Avatar, and Peter J Devlin for his nomination in sound mixing for Star Trek.

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