23 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTA Film & Drama Awards Focus: Lead Actor in Drama Nominations #IFTA17
15 Mar 2017 : Laura Brennan
Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders'
With the 2017 IFTA awards ceremony just over three weeks away, we continue our coverage with a look at the Best Actor in a Lead Role in Drama category. This year’s five nominees showcase the range and high calibre of acting talent thriving amongst Irish actors across both home and international drama screens.

The actors nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Drama this year include; Dara Devaney ‘An Klondike’, Cillian Murphy ‘Peaky Blinders’, James Nesbitt ‘The Secret’, Aidan Turner ‘ Poldark’ and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor ‘Trial of the Century’.

All five actors have all been previously been nominated and in some cases won this category before, so the competition is on to see if we will have a two year in a row win from Dara Devaney ‘An Klondike’, who was 2016’s winner or we will see another experienced nominee such as James Nesbitt ‘The Secret’ who last won this category back in 2003. Or maybe a first IFTA drama win for Aidan Turner ‘Poldark’ or Cillian Murphy ‘Peaky Blinders’  who has previously won an IFTA for his work in film but not drama although he was nominated in this category for his role as Thomas Shelby in 2015.

Dara Devaney, An Klondike

Dara Devaney is nominated for his role playing Seamus Connolly in the Irish language gold rush drama 'An Klondike'.  The 1890’s western style drama set in Dominion Creek, a town built on creed has received a total of 10 IFTA nominations this year across various categories including Best Drama, Best Director Drama, Best Script Drama, Cinematography and more. This is Dara’s second IFTA nomination. In 2016 he was nominated for his role in ‘An Klondike’ and won Best Actor in a Lead Role in Drama.

Some of Dara’s previous television credits include; ‘An Bronntanas’, ‘Corp & Anam’ ‘Camelot’ and ‘Ros na Rún’. Some of his film credits include ‘Pursuit’, 'Cré na Cille' and ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’. His most recent credits include drama Series 'Grace Harte' and the new Tom Collins film 'Penance: Aithrí'.

Speaking to IFTN this week about his IFTA nomination Dara Devaney had this to say:

“To be nominated twice for the best actor award is as pleasant and surprising a pleasant surprise can be! It's a great reflection of all the work everybody involved with 'An Klondike ' did that it has surpassed the 9 nominations received last year. I'm really looking forward to the night.”

Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders

Cillian Murphy is nominated for playing the role of fierce boss Thomas Shelby in ‘Peaky Blinders’. The crime drama series and gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England centred on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps. This is Cillian’s 12 IFTA nomination throughout his career back in 2003 he received his first three IFTA nominations for his work in ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Disco Pigs’.

In 2007 he won an IFTA for Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film for playing Patrick ‘Kiteen’ Braden in Neil Jordan’s ‘Breafast on Pluto’. His nominations over the years have been for his credits in films such as ‘Batman Begins',‘TheWind That Shakes The Barley’, ‘Sunshine’,  ‘Inception’, ‘Perrier’s Bounty’. Cillian’s only other IFTA nomination in Drama was in 2015 and again it was for Best Actor in a Lead Role, Drama for his role in ‘Peaky Blinders’.             

James Nesbitt, The Secret

James Nesbitt is nominated for his role playing killer Dentist Colin Howell in ‘Secret’ the crime drama based on a real-life double murder story that happened in Northern Ireland. Born in Ballymena, James grew up in Coleraine where the true crime of ‘Secret’ took place.

This is James Nesbitt’s seventh IFTA nomination.  In 2003 he last won the Best Actor in a TV/Drama category for his role of Tommy Murphy in ‘Murphy’s Law’ crime drama series. He was also nominated that same year for Best Actor in a Feature Film for his role of Ivan Cooper in ‘Bloody Sunday’. James was then again nominated in 2004 for Best Actor in a TV Drama for ‘Wall of Silence’.  Over the past years, James Nesbitt’s work includes: 'Hear My Song', 'Cold Feet', 'Jekyll', 'Five Minutes of Heaven', 'Occupation', 'Monroe', 'The Hobbit', 'The Missing' and 'Lucky Man'.

AidanTurner, Poldark  

Aidan Turner is nominated for playing the title role of Ross Poldark in the BBC’s popular history and romance drama ‘Poldark’, set in Cornwall in the late 18thcentury. This is Aidan’s second IFTA nomination after receiving his first IFTA nomination within the same category for his role in ‘Poldark’ at last years awards.

Aidan Turner trained at Dublin's Gaiety School of Acting. Following graduation, he worked extensively on stage and in 2008 made the transition to film and television.  His television credits include ‘Being Human’, ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘Desperate Romantics’. Aidan won international scope for his performance as Kili in ‘The Hobbit’. His other film credits include ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ and more recently ‘Loving Vincent’ and Jim Sheridan’s ‘The Secret Scripture’.

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Trial of the Century

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is nominated for his role playing Padraig Pearse in the 1916 mini-series drama, ‘Trial of the Century’. Set in a fictional courtroom showing how the trial of Padraig Pearse, one of the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising. A graduate of TCD and RADA this is Tom’s fifth IFTA nomination. In 2012 he won an IFTA for Best Supporting Actor, Television for his well know role as Nidge in ‘Love/Hate’. In 2013 he was again nominated for playing Nidge and won an IFTA for Best Actor TV.  In 2014  and  2016 he also received IFTA nominations for his role in ‘Love/Hate’. This year is his first nomination outside the role of Nidge.

Tom’s other credits include; television series ‘Charlie’, ‘The Secret Agent’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’. In film he has starred in ‘The Tigers Tail’, ‘Becoming Jane’, ‘Foxes’, ‘The Infiltrator’, ‘Daphne’ and more recently Jim Sheridan’s ‘The Secret Scripture’ and Stephan Burke’s ‘Maze’.

The Irish Academy last week announced the line-up of nominees for the upcoming 2017 IFTA awards ceremony, which will take place on Saturday April 8th in the Mansion House, Dublin.

For a full list of #IFTA17 Nominees visit the Official IFTA Website 

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