Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy continues awards triumph with Bafta win

Cillian Murphy said he was proud to be an Irish man after his Bafta success as the lead in the biopic Oppenhemier.

The actor was lost for words in his post awards press conference, to the point he joked if he should sing a rebel song.

Murphy picked up his first Bafta as he was named best actor for his role in Oppenheimer.

Born in Cork in 1976, his breakthrough role came in 2002 with the Danny Boyle film 28 Days Later, playing a bicycle courier who awakens from a coma to discover the accidental release of a highly contagious, aggression-inducing virus has caused the breakdown of society.

He showed his darker side as a domestic terrorist in the 2005 thriller Red Eye, and also had turns in Breakfast On Pluto, the Irish war drama The Wind That Shakes The Barley and science fiction thriller Sunshine, which reunited him with Boyle.

Cillian Murphy at the Irish premiere of Breakfast On Pluto in 2006 Credit: Julien Behal/PA

He first collaborated with director Christopher Nolan in 2005, as Scarecrow in Batman Begins, a role he reprised in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. He also appeared in Nolan’s films Inception and Dunkirk but it is his work with Nolan on Oppenheimer, playing father of the atomic bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer, that has brought him the most critical acclaim.

The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer, written by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin.

The film chronicles his studies, his career, his direction of the Manhattan Project during the Second World War, and his eventual fall from grace after his 1954 security hearing.

Murphy was immediately touted as a potential Oscar winner for his performance as the conflicted theoretical physicist, and he has said of the man he played: “We’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world now. We’re all living in the nuclear age that he created.”

He has since won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice award and is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award and an Oscar.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer Credit: Universal Pictures/PA

Murphy’s only other film Bafta nomination was in 2007, when he was included in the rising star category.

Speaking backstage after collecting his prize, he said he was a “really, really proud Irishman”.

He added: “I have to say that, of course. And it means a lot to me to be Irish.”

He joked: “I don’t know what else to say. Should I sing a rebel song?”

Reflecting on his win, the actor added: “It’s a little overwhelming… it’s kind of mind-blowing.

Cillian Murphy with his best actor gong Credit: Ian West/PA

“I’m thrilled and a little shocked.”

On the small screen, Murphy won legions of fans for his performance as gangster Tommy Shelby in the BBC drama Peaky Blinders, which debuted in 2013 and for which he has been nominated for a TV Bafta.

He plays the leader of a Birmingham crime family in the aftermath of the First World War.

Murphy is married to the artist Yvonne McGuinness and the couple share two children, Malachy and Aran.

Collecting his prize at the Baftas, he described the trio as his “best friends”.

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