Breaking News
Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Cillian Murphy: the rise to becoming the first Irish Oscar winner

“We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb and for better or for worse we’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world, so I’d really like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere.” -Cillian Murphy
via ABC News

Cillian Murphy, pronounced (“Kill-ee-an ”), was born to two educator parents alongside a younger brother, Páidi, and younger sisters Orla and Sile. The siblings were raised surrounded by art and music; this was how Murphy started performing and writing music at the age of 10. In his early 20s, Murphy was the lead singer in a band with his younger brother which was named for their favorite Frank Zappa song The Sons of Mr. Green Genes. This love of music stayed consistent throughout his career leading all the way through his recent Oscar win, where he became the first Irish actor to win Best Actor. 

The foundation of Cillian Murphy’s career.

His first audition and subsequent role was in Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs which focused on the tumultuous relationship between two young people as they grappled with their identity while entering into adulthood.  In 2002, Murphy co-starred in 28 Days Later, a horror film about a virus that ultimately ends humanity as it is known. Murphy spent the rest of the early 2000s making films that showed his vast range spanning from wartime dramas, like his role in The Wind that Shakes the Barley, and comedies, like the crime film Intermission. He got his first Golden Globe nomination for his performance as a transgender Irish woman in the film Breakfast at Pluto. 

During this time he portrayed Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan´s Batman Begins, the first installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy. This became the catalyst for a 20-year-long collaboration with Nolan which included ensemble pieces Inception and Dunkirk, the former being a science fiction action film, and the latter a war thriller. These collaborations culminated in his Oscar-winning performance in Oppenheimer; an epic portrayal of the man who created the atomic bomb and how he dealt with the trauma and burden of changing the world.  

Peaky Blinders: a defining era of Cillian Murphy’s career

via Entertainment Weekly

Playing Thomas Shelby, the morally gray gangster and mastermind in post-World War I Birmingham, Cillian Murphy took on the protagonist role of the longstanding Peaky Blinders series (2013-2022). His performance was lauded by audiences and critics alike, with The Guardian television reviewer Rebecca Nicholson admiring how “Cillian Murphy really gave a sense of TV at its finest.”

John Philbin, a DHS teacher and a Cillian Murphy fan, also appreciated the acting skill of Murphy, particularly noting how “he really knows how to get into his roles.” Philbin emphasized Murphy’s embodiment of his characters, saying, “If you see him outside of Hollywood, he’s nothing like Thomas Shelby, he’s nothing like Oppenheimer. He doesn’t even look like them. But, he transforms into the movie.” 

Peaky Blinders, taking up about a decade of Murphy’s acting career, has been one of his biggest successes, moving from the UK to worldwide audiences after Netflix picked it up in 2014 according to The Guardian. Murphy talked about how amazing it was to grow older with a character in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying that he became Thomas Shelby “to a point where the character starts thinking for [him] in the performance.”

Murphy and his fellow cast members’ iconic haircuts, flat caps with razor blades, and three-piece suits have become a cultural phenomenon. Simon Usborne, reporter for The Guardian, explained that “Peaky has spawned official festivals, video games, beers, escape room experiences,

grooming products, and Monopoly boards, as well as less official club nights, merchandise and vintage clothing lines… The biggest fans don’t just watch Peaky Blinders, but lap up its stylised aesthetic and gangster mythology.”

Go raibh míle maith agaibh; the Irish actor’s lasting legacy

Throughout the years, throughout each era of his life, and throughout each one of his works, Cillian Murphy has continued to express pride in his Irish heritage. He has made it a particular point to correct interviewers referring to him as British and has joked about moving his children back to Ireland to get rid of the “posh English accents” (Unilad). 

Murphy’s Irishness has drawn audiences like John Philbin closer to him as an actor. Philbin, being half Irish himself, has “a sweet spot for Irish actors that do well.”

At the end of his speech for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, Cillian Murphy thanked his audience in Irish, saying “Go raibh míle maith agaibh” (Cosmopolitan). With that speech–filled with appreciation for those who have supported him throughout his career and for his beloved family–Cillian Murphy portrayed his lasting legacy as a “a very proud Irishman.”

View Comments (2)
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Shea Moore
Shea Moore, Staff Writer
Hi I am Shea this is my first year working on The Hatters Herald as a Staff writer. I have enjoyed writing for my peers at DHS. Outside of The Hatters Herald I am also an Officer for Word Warriors. I am passionate about literature and writing and hope that I can have a career as a writer. Outside of school I enjoy baking and trying new recipes, such as perfecting my signature chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Riya Pharsiyawar
Riya Pharsiyawar, Staff Writer
Hey! This is my first year writing for the Hatters Herald and I am super excited to be learning about Journalism. I am currently a junior here at DHS. I love reading and writing and I am the Treasurer of the National English Honors Society as well as an editor for our school's literary magazine, the Nutmegger. Besides this, I am also very interested in international relations and hope to pursue a career in this field. For fun, I like to travel, bake, and learn new languages.

Comments (2)

All The Hatters' Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • K

    KimMay 1, 2024 at 8:10 pm

    Love it! Keep up the good work!

  • N

    NMay 1, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    Great article wow!