Saoirse Ronan has said her best actress Oscar nomination has been a dream.
As Irish actors, movies, directors and writers took centre stage in the short-list, the two-time nominee described Brooklyn as the most personal and toughest movie she has made in her relatively short career.
“When we made Brooklyn, we had no idea of what was to come,” she said.
“It is the most personal film I have ever done, the hardest one too.”
Ronan, nominated for the best in class along with Michael Fassbender who was short-listed for best actor for his portrayal of Steve Jobs, said it was a honour to represent Brooklyn, based on the Colm Toibin novel.
“This has all been a dream. To see how the film has been embraced has been heartwarming,” she said.
“Thank you so very much to the Academy – you are a group of people I respect greatly and to be recognised by you means so much. Thank you.”
One of the surprises was Lenny Abrahamson’s nod for best director for Room, while Emma Donoghue, author of the novel, was also nominated for her adaptation of her book for the big screen.
Both Room and Brooklyn were nominated for best picture but face a tough task to sway the judges.
Donoghue welcomed the four nominations for the film, adding “hard to type while shaking”.
The Irish Film Board-supported productions secured a total of seven nominations, including the short film Stutterer, which launched Dublin writer/director Benjamin Cleary into the running for best live action short.
It promoted the New York Times to post the #OscarsSoIrish.
Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said it was an amazing success for the nominees and wished them luck.
“These Oscar nominations further enhance our reputation in the film industry internationally,” she said.
“To be nominated for an Oscar is wonderful recognition from your peers in the entertainment and film industry of incredible talent and ability, and it is fantastic to see Irish talent receiving this recognition. I am sure that these nominations will give the entire film sector here a boost.”
The nominations are headed by The Revenant with 12 chances of an Oscar while Mad Max: Fury Road got 10 mentions.
The Academy Awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles on February 28.
The nominations mark the second time 21-year-old Saoirse Ronan has been up for an Oscar at a relatively young age after missing out for her supporting role in Atonement when she was 13.
She faces tough competition from Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence and Charlotte Rampling.
Fassbender was last in the running when he was nominated for his supporting role in 12 Years A Slave.
Critics suggest he is up against it with Leonardo DiCaprio hotly tipped to bag the award for The Revenant, while Eddie Redmayne, who has enjoyed plaudits for The Danish Girl, is also in the race with Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston.
President Michael D Higgins congratulated the Irish nominees for the unprecedented showing.
“This year’s Oscars’ short-list is a remarkable testimony of the vitality and diversity of the talent available to the Irish film industry,” he said.
“To have Irish nominees represented in several categories indicates the depth of the international recognition for the talent that now exists.
“Ireland has an accomplished film community, making us an attractive location. The Irish people are getting a great return from the investment in film in terms of first class highly skilled jobs and an enhanced international reputation.”