Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon and More Sing Happy Birthday to 'An Irish Goodbye' Star James Martin at 2023 Oscars

Martin broke ground for actors with Down Syndrome as his film won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short — leading to a serenade by Oscars attendees including Barry Keoghan and Ava DuVernay

Seamus O'Hara, James Martin and Tom Berkeley attend the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty

Happy birthday and congratulations on your Oscar win, James Martin!

The An Irish Goodbye star's 31st birthday fell on the night of the 2023 Oscars, when his film was named Best Live Action Short Film. In a touching tribute at Sunday's ceremony, directors Ross White and Tom Berkeley used their Oscar acceptance speech to lead the room in singing "Happy Birthday" to the Martin.

"Deary me, thank you so much the Academy for this incredible, incredible honor. Thank you to our fellow nominees, all the nominees for your work, and your work it inspires us so very, very much," White said on stage at the 95th Academy Awards alongside Berkeley, Martin and his costar Seamus O'Hara. "Thank you to everybody back home and Northern Ireland who helped us make this film. We wish we had the time to list you all here, but you know who you are."

White continued, "There's something very important we'd like to speak about as well."

Berkeley picked up the cue, telling the audience: "This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it's this man's birthday."

Wrapping an arm around Martin, he said, "He's out here in Hollywood, wearing a leopard print suit jacket. We'd love to use the rest of our time up here to sing for James."

With that more than 3,000 in Los Angeles's Dolby Theatre group began to sing as Martin proudly held up his golden statuette.

The 95th Oscars® will air live from the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on ABC and broadcast outlets worldwide on Sunday, March 12, 2023

According to PA via the Belfast Telegraph, Martin became the first actor with Down Syndrome to win a BAFTA Award with An Irish Goodbye's win for British short film at the 2023 ceremony. Ahead of Sunday's Oscars, he was poised to make history as the first actor with Down Syndrome to win an Oscar.

An Irish Goodbye follows two estranged brothers (Martin and O'Hara) who reunite following their mother's death to complete her bucket list.

Fellow filmsIvalu, Le Pupille, Night Ride and The Red Suitcase were also nominated in the category at the Academy Awards.

Filmmaker Ross White (C) accepts the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film for "An Irish Goodbye" onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 12, 2023.

In an interview ahead of the Oscars, Martin told PA, "The timing of it has been just perfect. You know, you can't plan somebody's birthday to be on the Oscars. So it's a big day, [but] I just want to enjoy it really, just enjoy the experience."

Echoing similar sentiments, Berkeley said of the coincidence: "The fact that it's the big Irish year. It's [James's] birthday. Like, it's a Cinderella story."

On increasing representation, Martin added, "I always say to people, never judge a book by its cover. Not just getting a BAFTA, but going to L.A. is a big deal … it's just nice to be included."

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The 95th Academy Awards are airing live on ABC.

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