Meet James Martin, the First Actor With Down Syndrome to Win an Oscar

When James Martin was born, doctors told his parents that he might never speak. However, he did not only learn to speak, but 31 years later, on his birthday, he walked on Hollywood’s biggest stage to collect his Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, An Irish Goodbye. James became the first actor with Down syndrome to win an Academy Award. And, as icing on the cake, the entire audience sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

James Martin never let his condition hold him back.

James Martin’s father, Ivan Martin, is very proud of his son and revealed that he does everything with great gusto, and he’s very glad that his efforts have paid off.

“He has spent his life pushing the envelope. People are very good at saying, ’You can’t do this, and you can’t do that’… He’s done it, and he does it consistently,” he said.

Martin is the first person with Down syndrome to win not just a BAFTA but an Oscar too, and he’s very proud of himself. “It doesn’t matter if you have Down syndrome, as long as you’re doing what you do. I do what I can to be funny,” he said.

His girlfriend also supports him and says the win was a magical moment. “It shows to everyone that it’s changing your mindset on how people with disabilities can achieve as much as everyone else can,” she declared.

For the past 10 years, Martin has been working at Starbucks.

His co-workers and manager at Starbucks are very proud of Martin and his acting success, and to support him, good-luck posters were placed in the coffee chain’s city stores.

However, Martin’s dad revealed that despite the fame, he doesn’t see his son quitting his job as a barista anytime soon.

Martin caught the acting bug after he joined the Belfast-based Babosh theatre company for children with learning disabilities.

There, Martin did all types of shows, and he enjoyed every moment spent there. This was a stepping stone for him, as he later managed to land the lead role in Ups and Downs, starring alongside actress Susan Lynch.

Martin then went on to land a role in the series, Marcella, but his role in An Irish Goodbye, which won him both a BAFTA and an Oscar, is his most high-profile role to date.

Preview photo credit MICHAEL TRAN/AFP/East News, An Irish Goodbye / First Flights and co-producers

What’s this object called?

Answers from the Community

  1. Trench lighter – I’ve got one from my father. It was often made from spent rounds with a few modifications to create a lighter. I had a .20 caliber case with an old threepenny coin soldered in the base, which was also a lighter.
  2. Army lighter that lights in the wind while covering the flame to avoid getting your face shot off.
  3. It is a lighter, but it might be a replica.
  4. It’s a miniature nuclear bomb hand grenade. DON’T pull the pin!
  5. Looks like a copy of an Austrian 1920s IMCO windproof lighter.
  6. Looks like a bobbin for an old treadle sewing machine.
  7. It’s a lighter – I’ve got one made of brass.
  8. Windless lighter – hard to find parts for it, but worth the effort to make it work. Awesome find!
  9. Miniature German hand grenade used by trained suicide ferrets in WWI. They ran up your pants leg and detonated at a critical junction, thus damaging many Privates’ privates.
  10. Military torchlight for when you can’t light campfires.
  11. I haven’t seen one of those in a long time.
  12. Trench lighter from WWII.
  13. Windproof lighter.
  14. I have one and it’s a lighter.
  15. It’s a coconut, duh.
  16. Prototype proto pipe.
  17. Steampunk suppository.
  18. Fire starter, flint.
  19. A vintage lightsaber.
  20. A vibrator from 1890.

The WW1 Trench Lighter: A Piece of History
The WW1 Trench Lighter stands as an iconic piece of history, highlighting the ingenuity born out of necessity during wartime. Soldiers in the trenches of World War I needed a reliable way to light their cigarettes or pipes amidst harsh conditions. Traditional lighters often failed in the wet and muddy environment of the trenches.

The Invention
Enter the Trench Lighter. This simple yet effective device, typically made of metal, featured a hinged mechanism that protected the flame from wind or rain. Soldiers could easily ignite it with one hand, keeping the other hand free.

Craftsmanship and Resourcefulness
These lighters were often crafted from spent bullet casings or other scrap materials found on the battlefield. This showcased the resourcefulness of soldiers. Beyond their primary function of providing light and fire, they became cherished keepsakes, serving as tangible reminders of wartime experiences.

Collector’s Item
Today, WW1 Trench Lighters are sought after by collectors and history enthusiasts, offering a tangible connection to the soldiers who once carried them.

The Trench Lighter’s Legacy
Also known as a “pipe lighter” or “pocket lighter,” the WW1 Trench Lighter holds a unique place in military history. Born from the needs of trench warfare, these lighters were not just functional tools but also symbolic artifacts of soldierly resilience and innovation.

Design and Durability
Typically crafted from brass, steel, or other durable metals, the Trench Lighter consisted of a tubular casing with a hinged lid protecting the flame. Inside, a flint and striking wheel mechanism produced a spark, igniting the fuel reservoir.

Designed to withstand the damp, muddy, and windy environment of the trenches, the hinged lid shielded the flame and prevented fuel loss, ensuring reliable ignition even in adverse weather.

Sentimental Value
Many soldiers crafted their own lighters using readily available materials, adding a personal touch. Engraved initials, regimental insignia, or other markings often adorned these lighters, transforming them into cherished mementos of camaraderie, hardship, and survival.

Enduring Legacy
Though the heyday of Trench Lighters ended with WWI, their legacy endures. Today, these vintage lighters are prized by collectors and history enthusiasts, offering a tangible link to the past.

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