Oscar win would be 'icing on the cake' for 'An Irish Goodbye' star James Martin

by Paul Clark and Stewart Robson

James Martin is a rising star on the world stage; but being amongst his drama group is where he's most at home.

Showing off his Bafta award to the group, James is preparing to walk the red carpet on arguably the biggest night in Hollywood.

After 'An Irish Goodbye's win at the Baftas last month, the film has been nominated for Best Short Film at the Oscars.

It tells the tale of two estranged brothers who reunite following their mother's death.

Back in Belfast, his friends at Babosh drama group are excited to see how the night unfolds for the award nominee.

James joined Babosh as a teenager before rising through the ranks and becoming somewhat of a household name.

"I do have a lot of good friends coming into drama," he said, "and you can see those guys progressing really well.

"I love that about drama, especially in this theatre here. It is where I started off and it is good to be back to see the guys again."

James and the other members meet weekly at the Belvoir Players Theatre in east Belfast. Their teacher makes sure the group believes there are no limits to their dreams.

"James has had the opportunity to showcase his talent and also on behalf of the drama group that he has been able to showcase himself," said Frances Nelson.

"For some of them who would really like to go down that avenue, it is something they feel they could do now.

James is now in Hollywood, taking his place among the stars.

One of the latest places he has been is on stage at an Irish bar, playing a solo during a rendition of The Pogues' 'Dirty Old Town'.

O'Brien's pub in LA said it was 'honoured' to have the cast there.

However, nobody is more proud than his father, Ivan Martin.

"There are many famous actors who never get in sight of of the Oscars," he told UTV.

"James has been nominated for both Bafta and Oscar this year. What a time for him. And I said to him, just enjoy it; enjoy the ride."

The date of 12 March is an important one for James Martin. It is also his 31st birthday.

"To be nominated for an Oscar, it is not every day [it happens]," he said.

"The timing of it is brilliant because it is the day of my birthday. It would be the icing on the cake [to win]and celebrate my birthday."

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