SAG Awards nominee profile: Colin Farrell (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’) could win twice

A quarter century and more than 50 film and TV appearances into his acting career, Colin Farrell has finally landed both his first individual and ensemble Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. This dual recognition comes for his lead performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which marks his third film collaboration with writer-director Martin McDonagh, following 2008’s “In Bruges” and 2012’s “Seven Psychopaths.” If he succeeds on his solo bid, he will be the first Irish actor to ever win this or any individual SAG Award.

Like Farrell, all four of the other men in contention for this year’s Best Film Actor SAG Award had never been nominated in the category before. Adam Sandler (“Hustle”) is the only other total SAG newcomer in the bunch, as Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), and Bill Nighy (“Living”) each previously received one Best Film Ensemble nomination. Fraser conquered that category with his “Crash” costars in 2006, while Nighy and Butler lost on their respective bids for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2013) and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2020) to the casts of “Argo” and “Parasite.”

Farrell stars in “The Banshees of Inisherin” as Pádraic Súilleabháin, an amiable Irish island dweller whose simple life is thrown into disarray when his closest companion abruptly cuts ties with him. As he repeatedly attempts to reconcile their friendship and clear any accusations of him being tiresome company, he slips from his position as “one of life’s good guys” into a more bitter and dishonest version of himself.

Farrell is the only one of this year’s Best Actor nominees who is also up for Best Ensemble. This was also true of last year’s lead male winner, Will Smith (“King Richard”), and applies to current Best Actress hopeful Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”). He is nominated as part of a cast of four that also includes first-time solo supporting contenders Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson, and Barry Keoghan. In addition to them all having shots at bringing glory to Ireland, they could collectively tie the record for smallest SAG Award-winning cast, which was set by “Sideways” actors Thomas Haden Church, Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen, and Sandra Oh in 2005.

As of now, the list of film performers who have pulled off simultaneous Best Actor and Best Ensemble SAG Award wins consists of only three names: Kevin Spacey (“American Beauty,” 2000), Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic,” 2001), and Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech,” 2011). In general, Farrell would be the ninth SAG Awards newcomer to win twice for the same film, after Ed Harris (“Apollo 13,” 1996), Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love,” 1999), Annette Bening (“American Beauty,” 2000), Del Toro, Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” 2008), Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds,” 2010), Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” 2012), and Troy Kotsur (“CODA,” 2022).

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2023 contenders in film and TV.

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