Five Irish ‘near misses’ at the Oscars

By on February 28, 2014

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WITH the 86th Academy Awards only days away, The Irish Post takes a look back at the Irish nominees who missed out on claiming the coveted gold statue.

Whilst Dubliner Barry Fitzgerald scooped an Oscar in 1944 for his performance as Father Fitzgibbon in Going My Way, and Brenda Fricker won Best Supporting Actress in 1990 for My Left Foot, not all Irish nominees have been so lucky.

Here are some of Ireland’s near misses at the prestigious awards:

1. Peter O’Toole

Peter O’Toole, renowned for playing Lawrence of Arabia, was nominated a staggering eight times for an Oscar, but never won for acting.

In 2003, he finally picked up a gold statue, but it was in the form of an Honorary Academy Award.

2. Richard Harris

Limerick-native Richard Harris made a name for himself in Hollywood when he was nominated in 1963 for playing coal-miner turned rugby league star, Frank Machin, in the film This Sporting Life.

His second nomination arrived almost 30 years later, for Best Actor for his role as Bull McCabe in 1990 film The Field.

3. Stephen Rea 

North of Ireland actor Stephen Rea was nominated for an Oscar for his turn as an IRA terrorist who becomes involved with a hostage’s lover in the 1992 drama The Crying Game.

4. Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson was nominated for Best Actor for Steven Spielberg’s epic historical 1993 film Schindler’s List, but lost out to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia.

5. Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh made Oscar history after being nominated five times during his career in five different categories Henry V (1989) Best Director and Best Actor; Swan Song (1992) Best Live Action Short Film;  Hamlet (1996) Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay); and My Week With Marilyn (2011) Best Supporting Actor.

He has yet, however, to get his hands on the prize

This year’s Oscars include three huge nominations for Ireland – Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor in 12 Years a Slave, U2 for Best Song with Ordinary Love, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Irish film Philomena, nominated for four awards, including Best Picture. The Oscars takes place in LA on Sunday.

Nemesha Balasundaram

About Nemesha Balasundaram

Nemesha Balasundaram is an Online Journalist with The Irish Post. Follow her on Twitter @nemeshaB

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