After big Oscar, Cillian Murphy's Cork school declares a homework-free day

Cillian Murphy won his first Oscar for Oppenheimer. (Photo credit: AFP)

There was a whiff of Hollywood glamor in the air Monday at St. Anthony's, a primary school in the Irish city of Cork that counts Oscar-winning actress Cillian Murphy among its alumni. The day after Murphy won his first Best Actor Oscar for his role in Oppenheimer – The staff, parents and children of his former school were delighted with his success. “When we woke up this morning there was such a buzz of excitement,” Sean Lyons, principal of the all-boys Catholic school, told AFP.

Murphy, 47, was a pupil at St. Anthony's, in the pretty Ballinlough area of ​​Cork, between 1982 and 1988.

He won his first Oscar on Sunday for his portrayal of J Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who designed the atomic bomb, capping a glittering awards season that saw him win a Golden Globe, BAFTA and other prizes.

“We thought it was real, that this man from Ballinlough in Cork had actually won the Oscar, a global award!” » said the beaming professor with glasses.

“He laid the foundation for many students, not just here at Ballinlough and St Anthony’s, but across Ireland, that they can succeed on the world stage,” Lyons said.

Super proud

A “Congratulations” banner referenced the actor's recent Golden Globes and BAFTAs and wished him good luck at the Oscars. “It’s going to have to be updated now,” smiles Mary Harrington, a 68-year-old grandmother picking up her grandchild from the school gate.

“I got up early this morning to make sure he won. I don't know why I did that because I knew he was going to win,” she laughed.

“My brother was in high school with Cillian and here too, and he remembers all the concerts he played with his music,” says Valérie Ni Cochlain, who was waiting for her child to leave school.

“Well done to Cillian and his family, this is great news for Cork and Ireland,” she said.

Murphy had pursued acting both at school and at university in Cork. In 1996, after pestering a local director, Murphy landed a starring role in the frenetic Disco Pigsa play written by fellow Corkonian Enda Walsh.

The stage show was a critical success, went on an 18-month world tour and was a launching pad for his career. “Cork is a small, close-knit community, a small town, we are proud of everyone who succeeds and achieves great things,” said Elaine Murphy, who is not related.

“We're very proud and so are the children. It's a great encouragement for everyone to be proud of a local,” she said alongside her two smiling children, Liam Eanna, seven, and Holly, six.

Day without homework

Posted inside the school in a questionnaire completed in 2015, Cilian Murphy advised current students on how to get into theater and film. “Join a theater group, start making movies on our phone with your friends, edit them on your computer and put them on YouTube,” wrote the actor, who now lives in Dublin after returning to Ireland after a decade spent in London.

According to the questionnaire, his biggest challenge was “trying to understand the Cork accent” after moving from Dublin as a child to Cork, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) southwest of the Irish capital.

“One regret I have is not putting money toward him getting an Oscar back then,” said Eddie Hogan O'Connell, a staffer who was a classmate by Murphy. “I would say the chances would have been great, whereas now he is among the best in the world and I congratulate him,” he said.

For the children at the school, Cillian Murphy's victory brought a surprise from the teachers: no homework. “The kids are especially happy that the teachers leave them alone,” said Phil Howard, a grandmother picking up her grandson Colm. “Cillian would be happy if he heard that, I'm sure,” she laughed.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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