Tensions were electric in Coalisland at the tail end of the week after it emerged that local stage expert Jim Farrell was overlooked in the Academy Award nominations for 2013 for best actor. Despite coming up against competition from Daniel Day Lewis and Denzel Washington, Farrell was convinced that his portrayal of ‘Dinger Campbell’ in Dig Her Up (the story of an ex-UDR man who settles in Coalisland and convinces the locals to dig up the rich coal resting under Annagher leading to great riches for the town but succumbs to a bout of consumption which was lying dormant in the pits since the 1920s) was enough to at least earn a nomination never mind lift the damn thing itself.
“Ah what do you expect from them Yanks. They’ve never wanted a Coalisland man about the place. My father used to tell me about his father who was headhunted by Hollywood producers ever since his take on Jesus in the Primate Dixon’s nativity play reached global news. They flew him over to Amerikay but as soon as they heard his accent he was ostracised. And these were the days of silent movies. Same with me. The Tyrone Times said my performance was ‘unusual, unforgettable and jaw-dropping‘. The Ulster Herald said, ‘his performance was fine – I could hardly tell he had a stutter at all.’ What more does the Academy want? Just because I haven’t checked into an addiction clinic or had follicles from my bollocks transferred to my head shouldn’t exclude me from getting recognition from the world’s theatrical critics. Bastards the lot of them.”
Supporters of Farrell’s work have said they’ll block the road from Coalisland to Dungannon tonight in protest, probably for a lock of minutes around midnight. On a brighter note, Farrell has promised to make his debut as a leading actress in June when he plays ‘Susie McIntyre’ in Balls To That (a young Edendork girl decides to spend her summer holidays in Downings instead of Bundoran and has a romance with a billiard-playing ex-priest) which will screen in Aughnacloy, Beragh and Newmills.