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On the occasion of his birthday, an actor with Down syndrome celebrated a historic Oscar win

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Belfast-based actor James Martin has become the inaugural individual with Down syndrome to be awarded an Academy Award. Notably, he celebrated this achievement on the occasion of his birthday. Martin starred in the short film “An Irish Goodbye,” which was selected as the winner in the Best Live Action Short category. Previously, Martin expressed his elation upon learning of the film’s nomination, stating that he hoped the nomination would encourage other actors with developmental disabilities.

He advised individuals with autism, Down syndrome, or other physical disabilities to pursue their aspirations. He asserted that such individuals should not be dissuaded from acting, as they possess the capacity to do so. He further stated that one should not allow others to deter them from pursuing their dreams.

Additionally, he expressed his intention to arrive at the Oscars in a distinctive manner. “My father possesses a leopard-skin jacket that I may potentially wear at the Oscars. Additionally, I may don a bow tie and a shirt of mine, which I believe will be well-received,” he stated.

On Sunday, Martin accepted the award on stage with directors Ross White and Tom Berkeley and costar Seamus O’Hara. As previously stated, Martin wore a leopard-print jacket. After a brief thank-you speech, White then addressed Martin. “There is a matter of great importance that we would like to address as well,” he said, with Berkeley adding, “This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it is James’ birthday. He is currently in Hollywood, wearing a leopard-print suit jacket. We would be delighted to use the remainder of our time here to sing for James.”

At the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, 3,000 attendees at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood sang “Happy Birthday” to Martin. His father, Ivan Martin, congratulated his son on his remarkable accomplishment, noting that medical professionals initially predicted that Martin would never be able to speak.

“It is an incredible accomplishment. It is something that cannot be taken away from him. When one is the first to accomplish a task, that accomplishment is forever etched in history, and that is how it is with him,” he said. “So here we are – James not only speaks, but he has not stopped speaking since he began. All I ever wanted for James was that he would be happy, and I can confidently say that he is happy now.”


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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