Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Oscars 2024: Cillian Murphy best leading actor

Cillian Murphy won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in “Oppenheimer“. After receiving the statuette, he thanked the producers and all the filmmakers. “I am a very proud Irishman. We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb. I would like to dedicate this award to all those who bring peace to the world,” he said.

The other nominees in this category are: Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”; Bradley Cooper, “The Maestro”; Paul Giamatti, “Winter Solstice”; Colman Domingo, “Rustin”.

Thanks to the title role he played in the film Christopher Nolan became the center of media attention around the world. Critics wrote that it was the best performance of his career. The actor himself does not hide that the role demanded a lot from him. In one of the interviews, he confessed that at some point he stopped eating, which pushed his body to the brink of endurance. The Irish star revealed that in order to resemble his hero, who had a very slim figure, he began to follow an extremely restrictive diet. “Oppenheimer ate only martinis and cigarettes. I overcame myself to see how little I could eat to survive. It was not healthy. I do not recommend it to anyone,” he admitted.

An actor often sacrifices himself for his roles. However, not everyone knows that acting was not his first passion. It was music. Cillian, together with his younger brother Paidi, played in several bands and this was his future. The future star considered himself a specialist in writing strange lyrics and guitar solos. One of the Murphy brothers’ bands – Sons of Mr. Greengenes – representatives of one of the Irish labels liked it and offered them a contract for five albums.

However, the boys’ parents did not agree to this cooperation. They believed that a musical career would harm the education of their younger son, who was attending high school. The contact was not signed also because it was financially unfavorable for the young musicians. Over time, Cillian began to give up musical performances in favor of acting ones. However, Cillian came close to using his talent for public speaking in… the courtroom.

After high school, he decided to study law at University College Cork in Cork. His parents were very pleased with the choice of this field, especially his father, who was a school superintendent. However, Cillian quickly became bored with delving into the secrets of law. It was also difficult for him to focus on the codes when he was absorbed by music and acting. Murphy said goodbye to law school after his first year when he failed his exams. “If I had stayed with law, I would probably be richer now. But I would feel very unhappy,” he admitted recently in an interview.

“I think there is a gene somewhere that is responsible for performing. If you have it in your DNA, it has to come out someday. As for me, it first came out in music, then it moved into acting,” Murphy once admitted. He started his acting career on theater stages. In 1996, he made his debut in the main role in the play “Disco Pigs”. Five years later, a film was made based on this play, in which Cillian Murphy reprized his role. It was then that he was noticed by the film industry. He decided to move to London to be closer to auditions for British film productions.

Another breakthrough was the role of Jim in the horror film “28 Days Later”. In the following years, he played a lot, but mainly in the background. In Hollywood, he was often cast as villains. After his charismatic performance in “Batman Begins”, Murphy became one of Christopher Nolan’s favorites. Over the last two decades, the Irishman appeared in six of the director’s films, but always in supporting roles. Only in their seventh joint project did Murphy play the most important role – the godfather. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb.

In 2013, Cillian Murphy began appearing on the small screen, in one of his most recognizable roles as Thomas Shelby, in the BBC’s “Peaky Blinders”. Director Steven Knight initially saw Jason Statham in the role, who was more in line with his imagination. Murphy managed to however, convince the director with a short message: “Remember that I am an actor.” The series was a huge hit on the BBC and Netflix. There was a sixth and final season in 2022. Murphy was recently asked whether there would be new episodes. The actor said directly that he would no longer play the role of Thomas Shelby. Instead, he is now focusing on other projects.

His latest film “Small Things Like These” opened this year’s Berlinale in February. Its action takes place during Christmas in 1985, and the main character of the production is Bill Furlong, played by an Irish coal salesman, who begins to discover the dark secrets of the local monastery. The film reveals the shocking truth about the Magdalene Sisters’ asylum – an educational institution run by Catholic orders to which young girls who caused problems were sent.