Irish Canadian author Emma Donoghue gets Golden Globe screenplay nomination

By , on December 10, 2015

Irish-Canadian novelist, Emma Donoghue (Photo from Punch Photograph/ Donoghue's website)
Irish-Canadian novelist, Emma Donoghue
(Photo from Punch Photograph/ Donoghue’s website)

Make room at the Golden Globe Awards for the Irish-Canadian film “Room” and its screenwriter Emma Donoghue.

The celebrated Irish-Canadian novelist has nabbed a best screenplay nomination for the big-screen adaptation of her harrowing mother-son novel. The film also scored nominations for best drama film and best actress for its star Brie Larson.

Reached in New York soon after the announcement, Canadian producer David Gross said the news was “beyond our wildest expectations.”

“It’s great. For a film that was shot in Toronto last year, we never had the expectation that this is where we’d be today,” the Toronto native said Thursday.

“I think we’re all super excited.”

The intense survival tale is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy held captive in a shed with his mother, played by Larson.

The child, portrayed by Vancouver native Jacob Tremblay, has no idea there’s a world outside that shed.

It’s an adaptation of Donoghue’s celebrated 2010 book “Room,” which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award.

“It’s just such a great novel with such an original voice,” Gross said of Donoghue’s book and her efforts to reshape it into a film.

“(Some people) thought it might be too challenging to get audiences to actually come to the theatre to see it, but I think it’s so hard to stand out among the $200-million action hero franchises that this is like great counter-programming.”

“It’s a movie that makes people feel something and that’s what’s sort of missing in those other films.”

“Room” vies for best drama against “Carol,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant” and “Spotlight.” The film’s Canadian distributor said Gross would be one of the producers accepting a trophy if the film wins.

Gross wondered how common it is to see a Canadian film make the Golden Globes best picture list.

“I’m sure it’s rare. Maybe David Cronenberg has probably done it before,” said Gross. (Indeed, Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” was up for best drama at the 2006 bash.)

Meanwhile, Donoghue, a London, Ont.-based Dublin native, faces some seasoned rivals in her category: Tom mccarthy and Josh Singer are up for “Spotlight,” Charles Randolph and Adam mckay are up for “The Big Short,” Aaron Sorkin is up for “Steve Jobs” and Quentin Tarantino is up for “The Hateful Eight.”

She said in a statement that she was grateful for the nomination.

“To be named in such honourable company—especially since ‘Room’ is my first feature film—is a startling delight,” said Donoghue.

The Golden Globe nominations follow a string of accolades for “Room,” which also stars Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Canada’s Tom mccamus.

On Wednesday, the Screen Actors Guild Awards handed a best actress nomination to Larson while Tremblay—who just turned nine—picked up a nomination for best supporting actor. And earlier this month, the National Board of Review named Larson best actress, and gave Tremblay an award for breakthrough performance.

“Room,” directed by Dublin’s Lenny Abrahamson, also won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, a prize often regarded as a bellwether for potential Oscar attention.

Gross said increasing buzz seemed to bode well for the film’s awards prospects.

“You never know, but between the SAG awards and the National Board of Review and what happened today with the Globe noms, it really feels like we may have some good momentum going into the Oscars.”

This is the first nomination for Gross, whose producing credits include the Winnipeg-shot hockey comedy “Goon” and the Toronto-shot romantic comedy “The F Word.” He said he looked forward to attending the Golden Globes bash, typically a star-studded, booze-fuelled affair.

“If we’re all so lucky, I’m sure we’re all going to storm the stage. That’s what usually happens,” he said.

The Golden Globes will be handed out Jan. 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif.