Cillian Murphy's biggest Best Actor Oscar competition 2 months ago

Cillian Murphy's biggest Best Actor Oscar competition

There could be not one but TWO fellow Irish actors competing against Cillian Murphy on Oscars night.

With Oppenheimer in cinemas now, and proving to be a massive box office success already, millions of movie fans around the world are witnessing the incredible performance by Cillian Murphy in the titular role.


Following the movie's release, Murphy was launched directly into the conversation around the Best Actor Oscar, with many believing he is pretty much a sure thing for a nomination, if not taking the gold trophy home on the night next March.

While we're still a good way off from the big night - and with half of Hollywood currently on strike, there is no saying if the movies or the awards night will go ahead as planned - but from what we see at the moment, these are Murphy's biggest competition for that Academy Award.

Kingsley Ben-Adir - Bob Marley: One Love

Ben-Adir has already had a bonkers busy 2023, having appeared in Barbie and Marvel's Secret Invasion, but his role in this biopic of the famed musician is sure to send him into another level of fame. The Oscars love to give biopics some love - just look at Bohemian Rhapsody - so if Ben-Adir pulls this off, it could represent a major threat to Cillian's chances.


Gael Garcia Bernal - Cassandro

Best known for his roles in Y Tu Mama Tambien, Werewolf By Night and Mozart in the Jungle, Bernal is already getting some incredible reviews for his performance in this biopic of gay wrestler Saúl Armendáriz in the 1980s. At the time of writing, the movie has a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with every single review aiming the majority of its praise towards Bernal's fearless turn.

Bradley Cooper - Maestro


Cooper already has nine - NINE! - Oscar nominations for his acting, writing, producing and directing, but while A Star Is Born landed those around him with awards, he unfortunately missed out. In Maestro, Cooper is once again writing and directing, plus he's starring as famed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, with the movie focusing on his relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre, played by fellow Oscar nominations magnet Carey Mulligan.

Colman Domingo - Rustin

Not quite as famous as some of the other potential nominees on this list, Domingo has been quietly stealing scenes in supporting roles in movies and shows like Lincoln, Euphoria and Selma for years. In his movie Rustin, which is being produced by the Obamas, Domingo is playing Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights activist who helped Martin Luther King Jr. and others organise the 1963 March on Washington.

Leonardo DiCaprio - Killers of the Flower Moon


The sixth time that DiCaprio and Scorsese have worked together, but to date, the only time DiCaprio has won an acting Oscar, it wasn't for any of his team-ups with Scorsese. Maybe this real life serial killer drama will change that. Early reviews are already claiming that this could be the best performance of DiCaprio's career to date, so if we were to guess, this will be Cillian Murphy's biggest competition on the big night.

Alden Ehrenreich - Fair Play

Cillian Murphy's Oppenheimer co-star could end up sharing that nominations screen with him thanks to this intense erotic thriller. While this is normally the kind of genre that doesn't get too much attention, the early screenings have viewers pointing out Ehrenreich's pitch perfect performance in a movie that is filled with sex, money and corporate backstabbing. Sounds fun!

Michael Fassbender - The Killer


David Fincher's last five films - Mank, Gone Girl, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - all landed their lead performers with an Oscar nomination. No reason to think that this dark psychological thriller set in the world of professional assassinations won't do the same for Fassbender.

Paul Giamatti - The Holdovers

This is one of those actors that you would assume has a trophy case full of Oscars already, but nope. To date, Giamatti has only been nominated once, and it wasn't even for a good movie: Cinderella Man. By re-teaming with his Sideways director on this emotional comedy drama, Giamatti looks like he'll be delivering a performance that is practically guaranteed awards attention.

Barry Keoghan - Saltburn

Yep, just one year after his Best Supporting Actor turn, our Barry could jump into the Best Actor race in this dark comedy thriller from the writer/director of the brilliant Promising Young Woman. In the new movie, Murphy plays a college student who becomes a bit obsessed with his classmate (Euphoria's Jacob Elordi), who happens to be from a very rich and aristocratic family.

Joaquin Phoenix - Napoleon

One Oscar win already (for Joker), and three more nominations to date, it is clear that the Academy loves Phoenix. Here he is re-teaming with his Gladiator director for this epic historical drama, telling the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, told through the lens of his relationship with Empress Joséphine (Mission Impossible's Vanessa Kirby).

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