21 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Normal People and Dating Amber lead the Nominations for IFTA Film & Drama Awards 2021
15 Jun 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People.
The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced the 2021 IFTA Nominations for the Irish Academy Awards across 25 categories in Film and Drama.

Across all  Film Categories and including craft and technical, Dating Amber has 8 nominations, Herself  has 6 nominations. Wildfire, Vivarium, and Broken Law  all have 5 nominations each while animated Feature Wolfwalkers has 3, as does Here are the Young Men and Gretel & Hansel.  

In Drama, Normal People has received 15 nominations, while Smother has 11, and Dead Still has 6.

In Acting categories, Colm Meaney has 2 nominations for Gangs of London and Pixie, as does Fionn O’Shea  for  Dating Amber and  Normal People, while Clare Dunne has 2 nominations, nominated both for Leading Actress Film and Script Film for her work on Herself. Wildfire has 2 lead actress nominations for both Nika McGuigan and Norah Jane Noone, while Normal People and Smother have 4 acting nominations each.

The 2021 virtual IFTA Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on Virgin Media One on Sunday July 4th.  Further details about show and the international guest participants will be announced shortly.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no physical IFTA Awards Ceremony until March 2022, in keeping with Covid guidelines and best international practice.

Over the past few months during lockdown, the Irish Academy Members have been busy viewing, deliberating, and shortlisting the very best work from across great Irish films, performances, and achievements.

Nominations have been shortlisted by Irish Academy Members alongside a specialist Jury panel of industry experts from around the world.

“This year’s Nominations are an incredible reflection of the high-calibre talent of Irish filmmakers, who are producing world-class standards of production and storytelling on screen,” IFTA Chief Executive, Áine Moriarty said of this year’s nominees. “The Irish Academy is proud to showcase and acknowledge their great achievements. This past year and a half has been difficult for everyone across the globe, and it’s heartening now to see things opening back up, including our Cinemas nationwide, and we urge everyone to go see this incredible array of movies on the big screen near you.

“Cinema is above all a communal experience and we are looking forward to bringing Ireland’s world class screen community together with audiences to engage and to celebrate the very best in Irish Film & Television excellence," added Moriarty.

The Best Film Nominees 2021 

The Best Film 2021 Nominees are: Paddy Slattery’s debut feature Broken Law, an electrifying thriller focusing on two brothers on opposite sides of the law that crackles with energy; Dating Amber, David Freyne’s uncompromising yet hilarious LGBTQ coming-of-age tale set in 90’s Ireland, led by the irresistible chemistry of its leads; Herself in which Phyllida Lloyd directs lead actress Clare Dunne’s script, balancing female grit and steel with warmth and tenderness to deliver an inspiring and hopeful tale; Vivarium Lorcan Finnegan’s ingenious and relentless sci-fi horror, that delivers thrills and scares and keen social commentary with equal aplomb;  Cathy Brady’s debut Wildfire, a powerful and occasionally shocking exploration of a unique sisterly bond, deftly explored through the incredible chemistry and performances of Nora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan, in what would tragically be her final performance; and Wolfwalkers, Cartoon Saloon’s gorgeous and profound animated Celtic fable, executed with a uniquely Irish style to convey a universal and timeless message of empathy and friendship.

The Best Drama Nominees 2021 

The Best Drama Nominees are:  Blood whose second season is a beautifully shot thriller, perfectly engineered to once again hook viewers with its array of twists, shocks and cliff-hangers; Dead Still about the Victorian tradition of photographing the dead that ably mixes period crime thriller with brilliant Irish comedy sensibilities; Line of Duty continues to deliver the plot twists, fast-paced intrigue and top-notch performances at the high-standard that has enthralled mystery-loving audiences the world over; Normal People, the heart-breakingly authentic adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel that explored love, sex, and class in Ireland through a pair of lead performances that resonated around the world; Smother a uniquely Irish whodunnit that expertly deals out red herrings and clues while effortlessly balancing a large cast of memorable characters: and Vikings whose final season delivered a fitting conclusion to an epic, complicated, and emotional saga, that drew legions of fans the world over.

Lead Acting Categories

Across the Acting categories Irish Actresses have excelled in film and drama both at home and abroad. The Best Actress Film nominees are Clare Dunne for Herself which she co-wrote and stars in, Jessie Buckley in celebrated director Charlie Kaufman’s surreal I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Lola Petticrew for her iconic performance as the title character in Dating Amber, and both Nora-Jane Noone and the late Nika McGuigan for their electrifying performances in Wildfire.

The Best Actress Drama category, meanwhile, sees last year’s IFTA Screen Ireland Rising Star winner Aisling Franciosi nominated for her role in recent update of Black Narcissus, as is Catherine Walker for her brilliant performance as Roisín in Lisa McGee’s The Deceived (Derry Girls creator), Dervla Kirwin for her role as Val, devoted matriarch of the Ahern family in the thrilling SmotherEve Hewson for her standout performance as the troubled Adele in Netflix’s hit, twist-filled series Behind Her Eyes, and last year’s double IFTA-winning Niamh Algar for her role in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi hit Raised by Wolves.

Irish Actors too have reached audiences the world over with their roles in film and television. The Best Actor Film Category sees legendary actor Ciarán Hinds nominated for his brilliant performance in the whimsical and playful The Man in the Hat, Fionn O’Shea for his layered and endearing performance in Dating Amber (he is also nominated for his supporting role in Normal People as one of the great Irish villains), Gabriel Byrne is nominated for his outstanding lead performance as an aging, womanising professor who starts hallucinating Leonard Cohen musical numbers in Death of a Ladies ManMoe Dunford’s literal powerhouse performance as a rogue cage fighter in Knuckledust sees him nominated, while Tristan Heanue’s debut lead performance as a guard torn between duty and family in Broken Law earns him his first acting nomination.

The Lead Actor Drama category is similarly wall-to-wall with talent as Adrian Dunbar sees his celebrated turn as DI Alex Ridley in Line of Duty earn him another nomination, Brendan Gleeson' s unlikely but resounding performance as Donald Trump sees him nominated for his role in The Comey Rule,  James Nesbitt’s powerful turn as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Brannick in the Neo-Noir Bloodlands earns him a Lead Actor nomination, as does Michael Smiley’s performance as the macabrely funny Brock Blennerhasset in Dead Still; and Normal People’s Paul Mescaearns his first nomination for the performance as Connell who’s emotional journey (not to mention chain and GAA shorts combo) captured and broke hearts around the world.’

Supporting Acting Categories

The Supporting Actress Film Category sees Ally Ni Chiarain nominated for her role as mother to the estranged brothers in Broken Law, Derry Girls’ Kathy Kiera Clarke for her role as Katie in A Bend in the River, 12-year-old Molly McCann for her role in Herself, Saoirse Ronan for her role as Kate Winslett’s love interest in Francis Lee’s Ammonite, and Sharon Horgan for her turn as Eddie’s mum in Dating Amber.  

In Supporting Actress Drama Category Fiona Shaw is nominated for her performance as an MI6 agent in Killing Eve, Derry Girl Nicola Coughlan for her role in the Netflix smash BridgertonSarah Greene for her star turn in Normal People and both Seána Kerslake and Gemma-Leah Devereux for their roles as Grace and Anna Ahern in Smother.

In the Supporting Actor Film Category Barry Ward is nominated for his role as Eddie’s armyman dad in Dating Amber, Brian Gleeson for his role as Gabriel Byrne’s character’s father in Death of a Ladies Man, Colm Meanie for his turn as a likable Sligo crime boss in Pixie, Conleth Hill for his role as helpful handyman Aido in Herself, and Ned Dennehy for his performance as the sociopathic Harry in sci-fi film Undergods. 

The Supporting Actor Drama Category sees Andrew Scott nominated for his role in BBC’s hit adaptation of His Dark Materials, Colm Meaney as the gangland patriarch in Gangs of LondonÉanna Hardwicke for his breakout role in Smother, and  both Desmond Eastwood for his breakout role as Connell’s friend and flatmate Niall and Fionn O’Shea as the bitter and sadistic Jamie in in Normal People

George Morrison Feature Documentary Award 

The nominees for the George Morrison Feature Documentary Award are: Breaking Out, Michael McCormack’s emotionally powerful and intimate portrait of late Irish musician Fergus O’Farrell (Interference);  Gabriel Clarke &  Pete Thomas’ Finding Jack Charlton an incredibly moving documentary about the Englishman who became an Irish Legend, with obvious love for the man, his life and his enduring legacy; Henry Glassie: Field Work in which celebrated director Pat Collins follows the titular legendary folklorist as he takes a considered look at the working methods of the folk artists he reveres; Phil Lynott: Songs for While I’m Away, Emer Reynolds’ poignant, poetic and loving portrait of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott and his incredible legacy; The 8th Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy & Maeve O'Boyle’s passionate, skillfully executed and deeply moving documentary on the seminal campaign to repeal the 8th amendment; and Gillian Marsh & Gretta Ohle’s Tomorrow is Saturday, a disarming yet intimate portrait of the life and work of Irish collage artist Sean Hillen, as he sets out to declutter and make sense of his life.

Full list of 2021 IFTA Nominees below:

BEST FILM                

  • Broken Law               
  • Dating Amber            
  • Herself                        
  • Vivarium                    
  • Wildfire                      
  • Wolfwalkers              

DIRECTOR FILM                  

  • Cathy Brady - Wildfire                      
  • David Freyne - Dating Amber                      
  • Lorcan Finnegan - Vivarium            
  • Paddy Slattery - Broken Law                       
  • Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart - Wolfwalkers                     

SCRIPT FILM             

  • Cathy Brady - Wildfire                      
  • Clare Dunne & Malcolm Campbell - Herself                       
  • David Freyne - Dating Amber                      
  • Paddy Slattery - Broken Law                       
  • Will Collins - Wolfwalkers                

LEAD ACTOR FILM              

  • Ciarán Hinds - The Man In The Hat             
  • Fionn O'Shea - Dating Amber                       
  • Gabriel Byrne - Death of a Ladies Man                    
  • Moe Dunford - Knuckledust             
  • Tristan Heanue - Broken Law                                  

LEAD ACTRESS FILM                       

  • Clare Dunne - Herself                        
  • Jessie Buckley - I'm Thinking of Ending Things                 
  • Lola Petticrew - Dating Amber                    
  • Nika McGuigan - Wildfire                 
  • Nora-Jane Noone - Wildfire                   

SUPPORTING ACTOR FILM                        

  • Barry Ward - Dating Amber             
  • Brian Gleeson - Death of a Ladies Man                    
  • Colm Meaney - Pixie             
  • Conleth Hill - Herself            
  • Ned Dennehy - Undergods                   

SUPPORTING ACTRESS FILM                    

  • Ally Ni Chiarain - Broken Law                      
  • Kathy Kiera Clarke - A Bend in the River                
  • Molly McCann - Herself                    
  • Saoirse Ronan - Ammonite               
  • Sharon Horgan - Dating Amber                   

BEST DRAMA                        

  • Blood Season 2                      
  • Dead Still                    
  • Line of Duty Season 6                       
  • Normal People                       
  • Smother                     
  • Vikings Season 6                   

DIRECTOR DRAMA              

  • Dathaí Keane - Smother                    
  • Dearbhla Walsh - Fargo                    
  • Imogen Murphy - Dead Still             
  • Lenny Abrahamson - Normal People                      
  • Steve St. Leger - Vikings Season 6                            

SCRIPT DRAMA                    

  • Declan Lawn & Adam Patterson - The Salisbury Poisonings                    
  • John Morton - Dead Still                   
  • Kate O'Riordan - Smother                
  • Lisa McGee - The Deceived               
  • Sally Rooney - Normal People                               

LEAD ACTOR DRAMA                     

  • Adrian Dunbar - Line of Duty Season 6                   
  • Brendan Gleeson - The Comey Rule            
  • James Nesbitt - Bloodlands              
  • Michael Smiley - Dead Still               
  • Paul Mescal - Normal People                                   

LEAD ACTRESS DRAMA                  

  • Aisling Franciosi - Black Narcissus              
  • Catherine Walker - The Deceived                
  • Dervla Kirwan - Smother                  
  • Eve Hewson - Behind Her Eyes                    
  • Niamh Algar - Raised By Wolves                 

SUPPORTING ACTOR DRAMA                   

  • Andrew Scott - His Dark Materials              
  • Colm Meaney - Gangs of London                 
  • Desmond Eastwood - Normal People                      
  • Éanna Hardwicke - Smother            
  • Fionn O'Shea - Normal People                           


  • Fiona Shaw - Killing Eve                   
  • Gemma-Leah Devereux - Smother               
  • Nicola Coughlan - Bridgerton                       
  • Sarah Greene - Normal People                     
  • Seána Kerslake - Smother                


  • Breaking Out             
  • Finding Jack Charlton                       
  • Henry Glassie: Field Work                
  • Phil Lynott: Songs for While I'm Away                    
  • The 8th                       
  • Tomorrow is Saturday                         

SHORT FILM             

  • Five Letters To The Stranger Who Will Dissect My Brain             
  • Flicker            
  • Kathleen Was Here               
  • My Other Suit Is Human                   
  • Rough             
  • The Invisible Boy                  


  • Gunter Falls in Love              
  • Her Song                    
  • The Dead Hands of Dublin               
  • The Voyage                
  • Zog and the Flying Doctors


  • Cathal Watters - Smother                 
  • Ciaran Tanham - Dead Still               
  • James Mather - Here are the Young Men                
  • Kate McCullough - Normal People               
  • Suzie Lavelle - Normal People                                                   


  • Aisling Wallace Byrne - Here are the Young Men              
  • Joan O'Clery - Dating Amber            
  • Leonie Prendergast - Gretel & Hansel                     
  • Lorna Marie Mugan - Normal People                      
  • Triona Lillis - Smother                                                           


  • Colin Campbell - Here are the Young Men              
  • Gráinne Gavigan - Dead Still            
  • Nathan Nugent - Normal People                  
  • Tony Cranstoun - Vivarium              
  • Úna Ní Dhonghaíle - Misbehaviour              

PRODUCTION DESIGN                    

  • John Leslie - Son                    
  • Lucy van Lonkhuyzen - Normal People                  
  • Philip Murphy - Vivarium                 
  • Ray Ball - Sea Fever               
  • Tamara Conboy - Herself                  


  • Aza Hand & Patrick Drummond - Son                     
  • Hugh Fox, Fionán Higgins & Mark Henry - Smother                      
  • Kieran Horgan & Brendan Rehill - Phil Lynott: Songs for While I'm Away                     
  • Patrick Drummond, Aza Hand, Katie O'Mahony & Adrian Conway - Here are the Young Men             
  • Steve Fanagan, Niall Brady, & Niall O Sullivan - Normal People                    

MAKE UP & HAIR                 

  • Jennie Readman & Niamh O'Loan - Vivarium                     
  • Linda Gannon Foster & Jennifer Hegarty - Dead Still                    
  • Linda Gannon Foster & Liz Byrne - Gretel & Hansel                      
  • Sandra Kelly & Sharon Doyle - Normal People                   
  • Siobhan Harper-Ryan - I Hate Suzie                                                         


  • Aza Hand - Son                      
  • Colm Mac Con Iomaire - A Bend in the River                      
  • John McPhillips - Smother                
  • Ray Harman - Blood Season 2                      
  • Stephen Rennicks - Normal People             


  • Jim O'Hagan & Ed Bruce - WandaVision                 
  • Ed Bruce - Shadow and Bone                       
  • Ed Bruce - Kidding                

2024 IFTA Award winners announced
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