​Saoirse Ronan is in "a bit of a dream"

Among those waiting for THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE ... tonight is a young actress with a distinctive name ... which she very patiently helped Jane Pauley learn:

With her Oscar-nominated role in the movie "Brooklyn," Saoirse Ronan is making a name for herself. But Saoirse can be tough to pronounce, and even harder to spell.

"It's an Irish word, and it means freedom, or liberty," Ronan said.

At 21, she's the youngest two-time Oscar nominee since Angela Lansbury in 1946.


Fonan's first nomination came when she was just 13, for her supporting role as Briony in "Atonement."

"Marilyn Monroe never had an Oscar nomination," said Pauley. "Mia Farrow never had an Oscar nomination."

"Really?"

"What, are you chasing Meryl Streep or something?"

"Yeah, that's the goal! An awful lot of it is luck if your film even gets seen."

"'Brooklyn' is not a big film," said Pauley.

"It's very intimate," said Ronan, "and none of us expected for it to go down the route that it did."

"Brooklyn" is the story of a young woman who leaves her family and friends in Ireland to come to New York for work, and finds a new life and love in 1950s America. Pretending to not know how to eat spaghetti, she said, was "hands down, the most difficult thing I have ever done in any film."

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Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen in "Brooklyn."
Fox Searchlight

The film resonates with Saoirse in a deeply personal way, as the child of Irish immigrants. "They came here to work; there was no work at home. The Bronx was an area that had quite a large Irish population."

Ronan, who was born in the Bronx, took Pauley to the Riverdale Diner, where she used to go with her parents.

"You haven't been here for a while."

"No, I haven't been here since I was three, which is nuts," Ronan said. "It was so weird when I came in. I remember everything. I remember where we used to sit. I remember what the outside looks like. The smells, everything."

And she remembers what she used to eat: Grilled cheese sandwich and pickles.

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Grilled cheese, just like in the Old Country: Saoirse Ronan returns to a childhood haunt in the Bronx.
CBS News

But when she was three, the family moved back to Ireland. Her father had become an actor and would introduce Ronan to his agent: "I was quite imaginative. I would put on voices, would do different accents."

Known for her skill with accents, she's gone from an American teenager in "The Lovely Bones," to a teenage German assassin opposite Cate Blanchett in "Hanna." The role brought her to the attention of theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had been in touch with Blanchett. She told him, "I'm working now with such a fabulous young actress." He then saw "Hanna," "and I was blown away by her performance," he told Pauley.