The 2023 Oscars may be well over seven months away and the events of the ceremony last March may be still making headlines. But that hasn’t stopped Ireland, which is getting into the race early.

As much of the industry slowly emerges from its summer holidays and warily eyes the incoming awards season, the Irish Film & Television Academy has announced that the Irish-language feature The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Ciúin) has been selected as Ireland’s best International feature film entry for the upcoming 95th Academy Awards.

The feature debut of Colm Bairéad, The Quiet Girl recently made history in Ireland when it became the first Irish language film to win the Irish Academy Award (IFTA) for best film. The film received 7 IFTAs overall including awards for director, actress, cinematography, editing, production design and original score. It also broke box office records in Ireland and the U.K., earning in excess of $700,000 since bowing in March, more than four times the record for the previous Irish-language film.

A coming-of-age drama set in rural Ireland in 1981, The Quiet Girl follows Cáit (Catherine Clinch) as she is sent from her overcrowded, dysfunctional household to live with distant relatives for the summer. She is welcomed with open arms by Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley), but her husband (Andrew Bennett) keeps Cáit at arm’s length. Slowly, however, a warmth grows within this makeshift family and Cáit begins to blossom in their care. But in this house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one painful truth.

The film was produced by Cleona Ní Chrualaoí as part of the Cine4 funding scheme for Irish-language films, in partnership with Screen Ireland, TG4 and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), and the film is also in receipt of the Irish Government’s Section 481 tax incentive.

“We are honoured beyond words that An Cailín Ciúin / The Quiet Girl has been selected to represent Ireland,” said Bairéad and Chrualaoí. “Our heartfelt thanks to IFTA and its selection committee. We have always believed in the idea that an Irish-language film could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of world cinema and we feel so proud to be representing our country and our language in this way.”

IFTA’s 2023 Irish selection committee was made up producer and Emmy-nominated actress Roma Downey (Ben-Hur, Touched by an Angel), Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly (Chicago, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty), producer & Paramount TV executive vp of international strategy David Flynn (Bodkin, Seraphim Falls), Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) and actress Fionnula Flanagan (The Others, The Guard). The committee was chaired by Academy CEO, Áine Moriarty.

“This is such a unique and  beautiful film that captures your heart from the outset, and leaves you profoundly moved,” said Moriarty. “How proud we are to submit this outstanding Irish language film into the Oscar competition, to compete with the best in the world, as we know this story will resonate with international audiences, beyond the borders of language, and no doubt with American Academy members too.”

The Quiet Girl has some time to wait to see if has resonated with AMPAS members, with the 15-member shortlist for 2023’s best international film not due to be announced until Dec. 21 before the final five nominees in the category are unveiled on Jan. 24.

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