While the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men has made world headlines for sweeping the boards at the Academy Awards, here in the Czech Republic THE story has been the success of the Czech musician Markéta Irglová, who with the Irish singer Glen Hansard took the Oscar for best original song with their composition Falling Slowly. Markéta Irglová, who is just 19 years of age, has become the first Czech to win that award. What's more, her acceptance speech went down a storm.
There were great cheers as John Travolta announced the winners of the best original song category at the 80th Academy Awards – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The singer with the Irish group the Frames and the young musician from the south Moravian town of Valašské Meziříčí have been a couple since the making of the low-budget Once, a heart-warming movie about a busker and a Czech immigrant who meet on the streets of Dublin and become close as they compose music together. One of the key scenes in the film is when they first perform the song Falling Slowly – and it is for this piece that its co-authors received the Oscar. Markéta, who turns 20 this coming Thursday, made one of the best received speeches of the night:
"Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along the way. Thank you."
Markéta Irglová’s was not the only Czech success at the 2008 Oscars. Adolf Burger, who is 90, was in Hollywood to see the Austrian picture The Counterfeiters, based on his memoirs, win best foreign language film. It is the fascinating tale of a Nazi scheme in which Jewish concentration camp prisoners, including Adolf Burger, were set to work printing fake sterling and dollar notes with the aim of destabilising the Allies’ economies. Mr Burger was born in Slovakia’s High Tatras but has been living in Prague for more than six decades.
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