Two Irish independent movies scored nominations at Hollywood's biggest awards. Will they win? 

'Song of the Sea', from Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, scored a nomination in Best Animated Feature and the Northern Irish 'Boogaloo and Graham' is in the running for Best Live Action Short. 

'Song of the Sea' was a surprise nomination this morning, after missing out on a nomination from the Golden Glode last month. One of the biggest upsets of the 2015 Oscars was the omission of animated front-runner 'The LEGO Movie', which came away with one nomination for Best Original Song. 'Song of the Sea' goes up against big studio pictures 'Big Hero 6', from Disney, and 'How to Train Your Dragon 2', from Dreamworks. Also in contention are the arthouse Japanese film 'The Tale of Princess Kaguya' from Studio Gibhli and 'The Boxtrolls' from Laika. With the front-runner now out of the race, the award could go to anyone.

This isn't Cartoon Saloon's first time at the Oscars, as their first full length feature ‘The Secret of Kells’ was a surprise nomination in the 2010 Oscar race for Best Animated Feature. The film was a beautifully rendered, fantastical cartoon about the origins of the Irish national treasure The Book of Kells. Steeped in the history and mythology of Ireland, ‘The Secret of Kells’ was hand-drawn in the style of ancient Celtic art, such as that found in the Book of Kells itself. The film drew on modern influences as well, with creators citing Oscar-winning Studio Gibhli and Hayao Miyazaki. The enchanting film was lauded the world over for its visuals and adventurous spirit, celebrating Irish culture and history. 

The ‘Song of the Sea’ is a classic yarn set in the modern day, following ten year old Ben and his six year old sister Saoirse, as they face the adventures and perils of trying to make their way home from Dublin to their lighthouse-dwelling father in the country. Along the way the pair encounters many fantastical figures and creatures from Irish myth and lore. The film is a delight for children and adults alike, with its rich storytelling and visuals reminiscent of both classic Celtic art and modern Japanese drawing. It has opened to strong reviews and Cartoon Saloon will be hoping they can go all the way this year. The voice cast features well known Irish figures of film and music, including David Rawle, Brendan GleesonLisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt.

The trailer for the film can be seen here:

And what of Cartoon Saloon’s chances of scoring a second Oscar nomination? In 2010 it truly was a David vs. Goliath situation, with the studio going up against two Disney juggernauts ‘Up’ and ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ as well as Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and hit ‘Coraline.’ This time round, early reviews are extremely positive. The film debuted at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival to a very warm reception, and it has continued to do well at other recent film festivals as well.

The other Irish nomination 'Boogaloo and Graham' is a live action short from director Michael Lennox set in 1970's Belfast. It follows two brothers, Jamesy and Malachy as their father gives them two baby chicks to care for. The short is also nominated for a BAFTA award. Other contenders in that category include 'Aya', 'Butter Lamp', 'Parvaneh' and 'The Phone Call'.

The 87th Academy Awards take place in The Dolby Theatre in L.A. on 22 February 2015. 

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