'Pinch me right now': An Irish Goodbye actor James Martin 'bit late' to stage to receive BAFTA gong

James Martin 
Actor Down's Syndrome 
Credit: UTV
The film has also been nominated in the best short film category at the 95th Academy Awards. Credit: UTV

An Irish Goodbye actor James Martin has said he was a "bit late" after seeing Brendan Fraser standing up for him as he headed on stage to celebrate his win at the Bafta film awards.

The Northern Irish black comedy, which follows two estranged brothers who come together after their mother's death to fulfil her bucket list, picked up the British short film gong at the ceremony last month.

Martin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I walked down the steps (at the Baftas) and the next minute this hand appeared and (stood) up and that was Brendan Fraser.

"And I'm thinking to myself 'pinch me right now' and then... I was a bit late because of that.

"And I walked down to the stage (and Irish actors) Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell (stood) up and clapped and it was actually really good.

"It was really nice to go up and go 'yes we did it'.

The Banshees of Inisherin's Farrell and The Whale's Fraser lost out on the night to Austin Butler who picked up the leading actor award for Elvis.

Gleeson who also starred in the dark comedy, The Banshees of Inisherin, which was filmed on the Aran Islands and Achill Island off the coast of Mayo, saw his co-star Barry Keoghan pick up the supporting actor award for his role in the same movie.

Tom Berkeley and Ross White, who joined Martin on stage at the awards ceremony in London, wrote and directed the short which was filmed on location in Londonderry, Templepatrick and Saintfield.

The 30-year-old actor, who has Down's syndrome, was also asked about his campaign work on behalf of people with disabilities following his addresses to the European Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, known as Stormont.

He said: "Well, let's put it this way, I'm the first person with Down's syndrome to not just pick up a Bafta but, finger's crossed, an Oscar.

"I always say to people 'never judge a book by its cover' because anybody can act, it doesn't matter if you have Down's syndrome."

Set on a rural farm, his film sees Turlough, played by Game Of Thrones and The Northman star Seamus O'Hara, make new care arrangements for his brother Lorcan, played by Martin.

Turlough plans to send Lorcan to live with his aunt on the other side of Ireland which he will only do 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 previously starred in BBC film Ups And Downs and works in hospitality at Italian restaurant Scalini in Belfast and Starbucks.

An Irish Goodbye has also been nominated in the best short film category at the 95th Academy Awards, which will take place on Martin's 31st birthday on March 12.

The Banshees Of Inisherin's Gleeson and Keoghan and Farrell have received nominations for best supporting actor and the later for best actor at the Oscars.

Farrell faces competition from Butler for Elvis, Fraser for The Whale, Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Bill Nighy for Living.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.