Irish playwright Martin McDonagh has been one of the most talked about literary talents this award's season, due to his controversial screenplay for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri".
McDonagh and the aforementioned film are nominated in two categories: Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.
McDonagh is certainly no stranger to the Academy Awards, having previously won the accolade for Best Short Film for his 2006 flick "Six Shooter". He also received a nod in 2009 as "In Bruges" was up for Best Screenplay.
Ahead of tomorrow's big event, here are five conversation starters for you to keep up your sleeve.
1. Wait! Is Martin McDonagh Irish or British?
McDonagh holds dual citizenship for both Ireland and Britain. He was born in London to a Sligo-born mother and a Galway-born father. When he was 22, his parents moved back to Galway, leaving himself and his writer-director brother John Michael behind in London to pursue their respective careers.
The west of Ireland obviously is a reoccurring setting for McDonagh. In fact, his first six plays (including "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan") are located in or around Co Galway, where he spent a significant part of his childhood.
2. He sounds familiar - what else has Martin McDonagh written?
Among his most prolific works are "In Bruges" starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, and "Seven Psychopaths".
McDonagh often uses the same prolific actors in his works - for example, "Three Billboards" Oscar-nominated stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell previously appeared in "Seven Psychopaths" with Colin Farrell.
Meanwhile, Gleeson played the lead in his Irish-based hit "Six Shooter."
3. Why was there so much controversy over "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri"?
"Three Billboards" deals with many pervasive issues such as race and violence against women.
Many critics were outraged with McDonagh's portrayal of these issues, and essentially how these issues were not resolved, nor characters redeemed.
IrishCentral's Dara Kelly was among the writers to compare McDonagh's movie's sweep of the awards ceremonies to that of 2006's "Crash".
"There's no dramatic payoff by the film's end. The film fades rater than concludes. The case that led to the three billboards erection has not been solved," he writes in his criticism.
USA Today writer Maeve McDermott notes that "the film glosses over Dixon's racist past in a hasty moral redemption has become the point of contention" - indeed the portrayal of Dixon (Sam Rockwell) has formed the basis of most critiques.
McDonagh's repeated use of derogatory terms also left many viewers furious.
The fact that the film has thus far won five BAFTAs, four Golden Globes, and three SAG awards, has infuriated many.
As Ira Madison III writes in the Daily Beast,
"The memories of those black bodies [Dixon] apparently tortured in custody don’t keep him up at night. And the black Americans who have to watch films like this, or plays laced with the word “nigger,” don’t seem to keep McDonagh up at night either."
4. Is Martin McDonagh married?
McDonagh is not married. The 47-year-old playwright keeps a relatively low personal profile given his Hollywood status. Alas, over the last few months, McDonagh has been linked to Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
My eagle-eyes husband just noticed Martin McDonagh kissing Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge...— Anna Peele (@bananapeele) January 8, 2018
Newly separated from her husband, Waller-Bridge is the co-creator and lead actress in British comedy show "Fleabag".
The Evening Standard notes that the rumored couple sat beside each other during the Golden Globes ceremony, and exchanged a "quick peck" after McDonagh received his award.
Was that Phoebe Waller-Bridge sitting next to Martin McDonagh tonight at #GoldenGlobes? I wonder if any of the 12 people who have seen Fleabag recognized her?— Rory Levine (@LevineRory) January 8, 2018
The most interesting clip of the Golden Globes was a shot of Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin McDonagh sitting next to each other. I hope they’re making a film together.— Mihir Fadnavis (@mihirfadnavis) January 8, 2018
5. What is Martin McDonagh's next movie?
Well, no matter what happens at the Academy Awards, McDonagh doesn't seem to be resting on his laurels.
He has already stated that he is working on a pretty big project with Irish luminaries Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. While he remains tight-lipped on the project, it is believed it could be some sort of biopic of the Irish War of Independence.
Rather intriguingly, McDonagh also told that the Den of Geek that it is ...umm... "lesbians" keeping him up late at night these days.
"Lesbians. Lesbians are keeping me up at night... I'd like to do something with two strong female characters, two strong women leads, after this one," he revealed.
Interesting.... I guess all that can be said is, watch this space.
Do you think McDonagh/"Three Billboards" deserve to win the Oscar? Tweet us @IrishCentral with your thoughts!