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Barry Keoghan hopes Bafta success for Irish talent will encourage rising artists

Barry Keoghan has said the Bafta award success for Irish talent will encourage artists in the country to “send the scripts in and go for what they want to do”.

The Irish actor, 30, picked up the best supporting actor prize for his role in The Banshees Of Inisherin after his co-star Kerry Condon won the best supporting actress gong for the film.

The black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh also took the awards for outstanding British film and original screenplay during the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday.

SHOWBIZ Bafta
(PA Graphics)

Reflecting on what the prize means for Ireland, Keoghan told the PA news agency in the Bafta winners’ room: “It encourages the arts at home and we are an island of storytelling and great actors and poets and writers.

“And this helps the industry massively at home and encourages people to send the scripts in and go for what they want to do.”

He added that he plans to celebrate his win with his son Brando by ordering room service after the ceremony, and that he will keep the award under a picture of his mother, who struggled with drug addiction and died when Keoghan was a child.

The Dublin-born actor, who grew up in foster care, also dedicated the award to children from the area he comes from.

Condon said winning the best supporting actress award was “really surreal”.

Speaking in the Bafta winners’ room, the Irish actress, 40, said: “Oh my God, the whole thing was just this blackout weird moment.

“All I remember is looking and seeing all the boys looking at me like, ‘get up’. It was just it was really surreal.”

Reflecting on why her role of Siobhan resonated with so many people, she said: “I hope it’s because she was able to be kind to somebody who annoyed her and I think it’s because she was evolved.

Kerry Condon
Kerry Condon (Ian West/PA)

“And I think maybe because she showed a lot of inner strength and a lot of sadness that people experience, and also that a lot of her life is taking care of her brother or taking care of somebody else.

“And I think a lot of women sacrifice their lives for their children or for their husbands, or whoever.”

An Irish Goodbye, which is set in Northern Ireland and follows two estranged brothers who come together after their mother’s death, also won the British short film award at the ceremony.

The film’s co-director Ross White said the makers are “so honoured” to be a part of the talent from a nation that won so many awards.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – Press Room – London
Tom Berkeley, Seamus O’Hara, James Martin and Ross White, the stars and makers of The Irish Goodbye (Ian West/PA)

Speaking in the winners’ room, he said: “It’s a remarkable year for Irish film and the talent on display across all the awards.

“We are a very small part of that but we’re so honoured to be a part of that.

“We’re representing Northern Ireland as well, it just means means a lot for us.

“Our fellow nominees in Colm Bairead for The Quiet Girl, beautiful film, the Banshees team, to see this Irish talent all being recognised in this way, it’s such an honour and fills us with pride.”