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‘The purest feel-good moment’: Oscar winners sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to star in adorable acceptance speech

Crowd at Los Angeles’s Dolby Theatre began singing along

Louis Chilton
Monday 13 March 2023 02:12 GMT
Oscars audience sings Happy Birthday to An Irish Goodbye star James Martin

The winners of the Short Film (Live Action) trophy at this year’s Academy Awards cut short their speech to sing “Happy Birthday” to the film’s star, James Martin.

Set in Northern Ireland, An Irish Goodbye follows two estranged brothers, played by Martin and Seamus O’Hara, who reconnect following the death of their mother (Michelle Fairley).

After directors Tom Berkeley and Ross White took to the stage, alongside the film’s two leads, they spoke for a minute before saying: “This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it’s this man’s birthday.”

Embracing Martin, who has Down’s Syndrome, they said: “He’s out here in Hollywood, wearing a leapard print suit jacket. We’d love to use the rest of our time up here to sing for James.”

They then began singing, and members of the audience began joining in.

Viewers praised the moment on social media.

“The crowd singing Happy Birthday to James Martin is an all-time #Oscar moment,” wrote journalist Donald Clark. “Just wonderful.”

“Teared up at the happy birthday for James Martin,” another person wrote.

“Oh god, this is delightful. There isn’t really a speech so much, but instead the directors urged everyone in the auditorium to sing Happy Birthday to the film’s star James Martin. the purest feel-good moment,” someone else commented.

Cinematographer James Friend, who won the following award, made reference to the moment at the start of his speech, quipping: “It’s not my birthday, but it feels like it is.”

You can keep up to date with the latest Oscar developments in our dedicated liveblog.

Earlier in the night, Hugh Grant divided viewers with a “painful” interview conducted on the red carpet.

Ke Huy Quan had an emotional reaction to winning Best Supporting Actor for Everything Everywhere All at Once, while Jamie Lee Curtis’s shock win for Best Supporting Actress didn’t seem to please everyone.

For a breakdown of which films and nominees are likely to emerge from Oscar night victorious, click here. Here is a full list of the nominees.

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