31 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTA Awards Focus: Lead Actor Drama
14 May 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Last year’s winner Jamie Dornan is nominated alongside Aiden Gillen, Cillian Murphy and Tom Vaughan Lawlor
With the IFTA Film & Drama Awards, we take a look at the Lead Actor Drama category, housing four men that have had a very busy year indeed.

The nominees this year are Jamie Dornan (‘The Fall’), Aiden Gillen (‘Charlie’), Cillian Murphy (‘Peaky Blinders’) and Tom Vaughan Lawlor (‘Love/Hate’).

Jamie Dornan will be hoping to repeat the IFTA success of last year as he won in this category for the same performance of serial killer Paul Spector in ‘The Fall’. He also won the Rising Star Award and went on to prove why he won the accolade, spearheading the global phenomenon ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ which earned over $500m at the box office.

His performance as Spector has continued to draw acclaim with The Guardian stating that the show is anchored by the “central performance of Jamie Dornan”.

Dornan is currently shooting siege drama Jadotville and can also be seen next year in the comedy Adam Jones opposite Bradley Cooper.

Another nominee that has had a very busy year is Charlie’s Aiden Gillen. Continuing his starring role in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ and also cast as the lead in John Carney’s upcoming ‘Sing Street’, Gillen’s complex portrayal of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey garnered acclaim in Ireland. The Irish Times stated that “Aidan Gillen not only manages to look like Haughey, but he conveys his ruthlessness and charm effectively.”

This is Gillen’s fourth nomination as he has been nominated in the past for ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Wire’, winning in 2012 for Irish crime drama ‘Love/Hate’.

Celebrating a massive ten nominations this year is Cork actor Cillian Murphy. His performance as Thomas Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders' has been well-reviewed by critics with The Independent complimenting the "sterling work" of the actor on the show.

Murphy has previously been nominated for the films '28 Days Later', 'Disco Pigs', 'Batman Begins', 'Red Eye', 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley', 'Sunshine', Inception' and 'Perrier's Bounty'. He won an IFTA in 2007 for Neil Jordan's 'Breakfast on Pluto' (a role which also garnered him a Golden Globe nomination).

The actor will next be seen in Ron Howard's 'In The Heart Of The Sea' which is slated for a December release. He is also in development for Sean Ellis's war drama 'Anthropoid' opposite fellow nominee Jamie Dornan and 'Wayfaring Strangers', which is written and to be directed by Stephen Bradley (director of 'Noble', nominated for Best Film).

Rounding out the list is Tom Vaughan Lawlor, nominated for the fourth year in a row for playing crime boss ‘Nidge’ in landmark RTÉ drama ‘Love/Hate’.

Vaughan Lawlor’s performance has been widely praised since the show’s inception, graduating from a supporting character to the main protagonist in season three. He won back to back IFTA’s in 2012 and 2013 for his performance, losing out last year to fellow nominee Jamie Dornan.

The actor was recently cast in thriller ‘The Infiltrator’ opposite Bryan Cranston and also recently had a role in Jim Sheridan’s ‘The Secret Scripture’, which filmed in Ireland earlier this year.

The IFTA Film & Drama Awards takes place on Sunday, May 24 with TV3 airing a one hour special on the ceremony on Monday, June 1st.

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