UK and Irish films and talent was recognised in a big way at the Academy Awards with a host of nominations in front of and behind the camera. Todd Haynes’ Carol, produced by UK indie stalwarts Liz Karlsen and Stephen Woolley’s Number9 Films, led the way with six Oscar noms, including best actress (Cate Blanchett), best supporting actress (Rooney Mara) and best adapted screenplay (Phyllis Nagy).
Close behind was Lenny Abrahamson’s Room with four noms, including Best Picture and Director. John Crowley’s Brooklyn has three with Brit production powerhouse Working Title’s The Danish Girl scoring acting noms for Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander as well as for costume design and production design.
In addition, British and Irish acting talent was out in force with noms for Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years). Asif Kapadia’s heartbreaking feature doc Amy, about the brilliant but tragic singer Amy Winehouse, landed itself a nom in the best feature doc category. A shout out, too, for British-Palestinian filmmaker Basil Khalil, whose Ave Maria, about a group of Palestinian nuns in the West Bank, who have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Jewish settlers come knocking at their door for help after crashing into the convent’s wall, got shortlisted for the best short category.
Film4, the film arm of broadcaster Channel 4, enjoyed its most successful ever nominations day with 15 nominations for films it has co-financed and co-produced. That performance is timely, given the long-term uncertainty over parent Channel 4, amidst speculation that the UK’s Conservative government is seeking to privatise the publicly-owned broadcaster.
Close behind was sales agent Hanway Films with 10 Oscar noms, a major statement of success in founder, and industry legend, Jeremy Thomas and managing director Thorsten Schumacher.
Here are reactions from across the biz:
“Four years ago when we began the production of Carol we couldn’t have dared dream that we would have six Oscar nominations including the most important ones – Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. We are thrilled for everyone involved in the film especially Phyllis and of course Todd who deserve all the credit for this extraordinary production.” – Liz Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, Number9 Films, producers of Carol
“We are truly ecstatic. We are incredibly honored to get four nominations from the Academy, especially in these categories. It is truly amazing and beyond our wildest dreams. I’m especially pleased for Lenny’s best director nomination. He has done such an extraordinary job and it’s so brilliantly deserved. We are so grateful to our amazing cast and crew and to all our partners and financiers including A24, FilmFour, the Irish Film Board, FilmNation, No Trace Camping, Studio Canal, Universal, Elevation, Telefilm and Ontario Media Development Corp as well as UTA and WME. It’s a landmark day for Irish cinema — eight nominations in total including ourselves, Brooklyn and the short film Stutterer. Congrats to all. What a day!” — Ed Guiney, Element Pictures, producer of Room
“We are deeply grateful that the Academy and its members have embraced our films Carol, Room, Ex-Machina, 45 Years, Youth and Amy and recognized the extraordinary talent and creativity in bringing them to audiences far and wide. 15 nominations across the films is an amazing validation of our belief in the potential of these bold, inspirational stories we championed at Film4. It’s enormously rewarding to see everyone’s hard work and creativity illuminated by an Oscar nomination and I am delighted to see so many of our friends and partners honored today. Congratulations to you all – its very well deserved.” – David Kosse, director of Film4.
“We couldn’t be more proud of these 10 nominations for Anomalisa, Brooklyn and Carol. Together with the 15 Bafta and 9 Independent Spirit Nominations for those films, this has been a bumper award season for us! Congratulations to all our filmmakers who worked so hard to get these films made – they really deserve all this recognition!” – Thorsten Schumacher, managing director of Hanway Films.
“What is so thrilling about today’s Oscar nominations is seeing British films and talent included across almost every category, showing that Academy voters have recognised what we already know: Brits excel across all areas of filmmaking, from our celebrated on-screen talent to the creatives, technicians and craftspeople whose extraordinary skills bring stories to life on the big screen. I am over the moon that the BFI and indeed all the National Lottery players of the UK can feel especially proud of Brooklyn and 45 Years, which were supported through the BFI Film Fund and between them have garnered four nominations. My warmest congratulations to the UK’s nominees – we are rooting for you all!”- Amanda Nevill, chief exec – British Film Institute