The triumph of the film, which is about the wrongful imprisonment of one of the Guildford Four, will not be a cause for much celebration in the corridors of Westminster, where there have long been mutterings that it both helps fill the coffers of the Irish Republican Army, and vilifies the British police and judiciary.
But members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences left the world in no doubt of their admiration for the movie by nominating it in top Oscar categories - including best film, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best director (Jim Sheridan), best supporting actor (Peter Postlethwaite) and best supporting actress (Emma Thompson).
The film, which opens in Britain this week after receiving warm critical acclaim in Ireland and the US, was the source of rumbling criticism even before shooting had been completed. The British Police Federation said it was 'concerned' about its content. There were predictions that Daniel Day-Lewis had ruined his career by agreeing to take part in the film, in which he plays Gerry Conlon, one of the four people who spent almost 15 years in jail for pub bombings they did not commit.
More significantly, perhaps, the film was attacked for factual inaccuracies by members of the Maguire Seven - a group also wrongly convicted of terrorism-related offences - who issued a statement saying much of the detail in the film was fictional. These claims were answered recently by Day-Lewis, who said: 'The only distortion that matters an awful lot to me is the far greater one, the one by the British judiciary.'
While the success of In the Name of the Father made headline news in Britain, America's attention was on Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg's searing black-and-white epic based on the Holocaust. It won 12 Oscar nominations, including one for its Irish star, Liam Neeson, and one in the director's category for Spielberg. If Spielberg wins, it will be his first Oscar for directing.
But, in a year dominated by high-quality movies, there were also notable triumphs for Britain. These included nominations for the double-act, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, for James Ivory's The Remains of the Day, and Ralph Fiennes (best supporting actor) for Schindler's List.
Nominees for the 66th annual Academy Awards:
Picture: The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day, Schindler's List.
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson.
Actress: Angela Bassett, Stockard Channing, Holly Hunter, Emma Thompson, Debra Winger.
Director: Jim Sheridan, Jane Campion, James Ivory, Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman.
The full nomination list appears in tomorrow's film pages.Reuse content