Actor James Martin, who stars in An Irish Goodbye, has revealed the Hollywood stars he wants to meet when he attends the Oscars next month.
The film, which is set in Northern Ireland and follows two estranged brothers who come together after their mother’s death to fulfil her bucket list, has been nominated in the best short film category at the 95th Academy Awards.
Martin, 30, whose birthday coincides with the awards ceremony in March, said he hopes to meet fellow Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson and other big names like Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro and Jennifer Aniston.
The actor, who has Down’s syndrome, told BBC Breakfast on Thursday: “Well it’s not every day that you go to America, and an Oscar could be a nice birthday gift, because it’s actually on the 12th March, my birthday, so the timing is fantastic.”
“I would love to meet Robert De Niro because we’ve got something in common as well.”
The black comedy, set on a rural farm, which was filmed on location in Londonderry, Templepatrick and Saintfield, is directed and written by Tom Berkeley and Ross White.
Berkeley said: “We’re just going to probably lose our heads.”
White also said it was “fab” and “enough for us” to qualify for the Oscar longlist, before they were nominated for their short film.
Asked how they knew they had created something special, Berkeley mentioned the relationship between Game Of Thrones and The Northman star Seamus O’Hara, who plays Turlough, and Martin, who plays Lorcan.
Berkeley added: “(When we heard) about the two of them facetiming each other in the evenings to originally run their lines, and then they just ended up doing it because they just became very fast friends, so I think we realised they had something special together.”
In the film, when the brothers are reunited Turlough must make new care arrangements for Lorcan, and plans to send him to live with his aunt on the other side of Ireland.
Lorcan tells Turlough he will only leave the farm when they complete the 100 items on the list of things their mother, played by Game Of Thrones actress Michelle Fairley, wanted to do before she died.
Martin, who has previously starred in BBC film Ups And Downs and works in hospitality at Italian restaurant Scalini in Belfast and Starbucks, called his friendship with O’Hara “a special bond” and it was important he made people laugh when they saw it.
He added: “Because I made An Irish Goodbye in lockdown, you just want to make people laugh and because you don’t want to watch the same thing all over again on TV.
“So we need to watch something new and I think that’s nice.”
An Irish Goodbye has also been nominated for the British short film award at the 76th Baftas, which will take place on February 19.
The film has already received prizes at the British Short Film Awards, the Indy Shorts International Film Festival and the Irish Film Festa .