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Oscars audience sings "Happy Birthday" to James Martin, actor with Down syndrome, as he accepts award

Irish actor James Martin attended the Oscars on Sunday and not only accepted an award, but celebrated his birthday with an audience full of stars. Martin, who has Down syndrome, starred in the best live action short winner "An Irish Goodbye," a film about two brothers who come together after their mother's death.

Martin took the stage with the film's directors, Ross White and Tom Berkeley, and his co-star Seamus O'Hara, to accept the award.

"This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it's this man's birthday," Berkeley said, beckoning Martin up to the microphone. "He's out here in Hollywood, wearing a leopard print suit jacket, we'd love to use the rest of our time up here to sing for James." 

95th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Ross White, James Martin, Tom Berkeley, and Seamus O'Hara accept the Best Live Action Short Film award for "An Irish Goodbye" onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images

The audience at the Dolby Theater then erupted into "Happy Birthday" for the star, who clutched the Oscar.

Martin appeared in the TV show "Marcella" in 2016 and the TV movie "Ups and Downs" in 2017. 

But just a few months before the 95th Academy Awards, he was working at a Starbucks in Ireland, according to British TV network ITV. "I always tell people, never judge a book by its cover, we're all human beings we know how to act," he told ITV.

In the days leading up to the Oscars, Martin arrived in Los Angeles and went to O'Brien's Irish Pub in Santa Monica, where he joined a band that was performing and played harmonica. The video of his performance was shared on Twitter by the "Irish Goodbye" account. 

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