Name at birth: Leonard Ian AbrahamsonLenny Abrahamson is the iconoclastic Irish film director who was Oscar-nominated for directing the 2015 drama Room. Leonard Ian Abrahamson was born in Dublin and made short films while studying at Trinity College, beginning his studies in theoretical physics before switching to mental and moral science. He began a PhD program in philosophy at Stanford University but left in the first year, returning to Dublin with a desire to break into film. After scuffling a bit and then directing TV ads (including some of the “Carlsberg don’t do” beer commercials) he made his first feature, the black comedy Adam and Paul (2004) which followed two hapless junkies wandering around Dublin looking for a fix. He followed that with the gas station tragicomedy Garage (2007) and the haunting teen drama What Richard Did (2012), both of which drew critical praise; his style was called “dryly funny, inquisitive, plangent” by The Guardian. In 2015 his career really took off with the release of the thriller Room, starring Brie Larson as a young woman who makes plans to escape after being imprisoned for years in a small room with her young son. Room won Oscar nominations for best film, best actress for Brie Larson and best director for Abrahamson himself.
Lenny Abrahamson met his wife, the former Monika Pamula, at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2005. They have two children… Lenny Abrahamson is from Dublin’s small Jewish community, and once joked to Forward.com that he was Ireland’s third most famous Jewish figure: “First is Chaim Herzog, who grew up on the same street and played with my mother. Then there’s Leopold Bloom from ‘Ulysses, and me.”
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