Ronan Blaney is second favourite to win an Oscar this weekend for his movie Boogaloo and Graham.
The talented teacher has already scooped a BAFTA and told the ‘MAIL’ he has been ‘stunned’ by its success.
And local people are nipping into the local bookies in their droves to place a bet on the Lurgan man to lift the Oscar on Sunday night.
Ronan, a part time teacher at Brownlow Integrated College, jetted off this week to Hollywood for a round of sparkling parties and lunches.
He is already number one on everyone’s invitation list and around 80 different film festivals across the world have asked to show his movie.
“Normally you have to beg and pay to get into cinemas,” said Ronan who is still recovering from the glory of winning a BAFTA. “If we could bottle what this film has we’d be multi-millionaires.”
Ronan’s father Sean worked in O’Hagan’s chicken factory in Lurgan and had brought home two chicks for him and his brother Mel to raise and this inspired the script for Boogaloo and Graham. “We raised these things for about six months, fed them up spent all our pocket money on them, built them a coop and got all the fellas in the street to help us and they were really treated like pets. Then we came home from school one day and the chickens were gone. It was traumatic.
“It was semi-autobiographical but I basically wanted to write a story about the chaos and madness that goes on in a household and raising families because I’ve got young children myself. It struck me as a memory from my childhood that I could make really funny. And gradually as I wrote and set against the backdrop of the Troubles. There was a real contrast between what was going on in the household and what was going on in the streets. During any conflict, normal life goes on.”
Ronan spoke about how wonderful Irish humour is and how even at a screening in Washington people laughed as they got the humour. “In London it was shown with the other BAFTA shorts and people had tears in their eyes laughing so much and that is so gratifying.”
He has been describing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood lunches and parties prior to his Oscar night. Last week he was at a Hollywood party and when he went to the bar, Robert Duvall was standing beside him.
At the BAFTAs last week he spoke of how he met Benedict Cumberbatch in the bathroom.
Ronan revealed the glamour of driving up to the red carpet at the BAFTAs in a limousine and hearing the crowds cheering.
“Walking that red carpet is a surreal experience,” he said.
Ronan and his wife Sally have three children Rebecca, aged 17, Rachel, aged 13 and Hannah, aged 11. The whole family, including his mum and dad Sean and Claire, his brothers Mel and Neil and his sister Orla will be cheering him on as will most of Lurgan and the pupils of Brownlow College.
Principal Stephen Creber praised Ronan’s teaching skills and said he had made the school very proud.
Gary Lynch of French Bookmakers in Lurgan said a lot of people had been placing bets on Ronan to win the Oscar with odds now standing at 4-1 second favourite to win.
And we will be hearing more of Ronan Blaney as he has three or four more scripts in development. Hollywood will be beckoning again.