It is the first time since 1934 that all the actors nominated in the lead category at the Oscar 2023 get their first nomination. It is an exhibition that speaks of generational change (in the case of Austin Butler and Paul Mescal), of celebrated returns (Brendan Fraser) and of acts of justice (Bill Nighy). Also added to this is Colin Farrell, who rose to stardom two decades ago as an Irish rebel and who has reestablished himself as an established prestigious actor. Proof of this is that we are facing the best year of his career (although it seems that it will not end with the Oscar) having coincided in time with “The Batman”, “Thirteen Lives”, “Saying Goodbye to Yang” and “Inisherin’s Banshees”, this being his third collaboration with Martin McDonagh.
Colin Farrell was going to be a footballer with his father being Eamon Farrell, an Irish player from the 60s and 70s who became famous. He spent a lot of time playing in youth teams, but he enrolled in Dramatic Art classes and there he felt the flame of his vocation. His temperament was proportional to his determination and his perseverance which led him to join a dance group that was going on tour in Australia. Upon returning he enrolled in Dublin’s Gaiety School of Drama, where he studied acting and acting with his sister. From there to London.
Kevin Spacey gave him the opportunity, after seeing him in the theater, to be part of “Criminal and decent” (2000) but Farrell, in truth, owes his career to Joel Schumacher who entrusted him with the leading role of “Tigerland” (2000). Giving life to a young recruit who, along with other colleagues, is trained in a training camp in Louisiana as a step prior to the Vietnam War. An anti-war look at so many kids who were deceived, persuaded by the idea of being useful to their countries as a counterpoint and response to misguided and hopeless lives.
He was the promise of the moment, to which he added an attractiveness always well received in the cradle of aestheticism, and Hollywood was willing to adopt him because, despite his naughty streak and continuous night outings, this never tarnished his professionalism, ensuring that the hangover did not It would not be noticed in any filming set, always being ready in the exact register that was required of it.
He starred with Bruce Willis in “Hart’s War” (2002) and at times eclipsed Tom Cruise in “Minority Report” (2003), all despite being Steven Spielberg’s third choice after the previous resignations of Matt Damon and Javier Bardem, who at that point in his career was not very keen on jumping off roofs and letting himself be carried away by the siren songs of Hollywood.
At the same pace as his career, his list of love conquests also grew, whether they were young or old, singers, models, actresses or anonymous girls, which further cemented his image of rising value for a system that also needs contemporary Casanovas. Farrell made the most of a life that smiled at him and that led him to repeat it with Joel Schumacher locked in the cabin of “Last Call” (2002) or in politics “Veronica Guerin” (2003), delving into the nationalist and violent Dublin of early 90’s with Cate Blanchett.
He was also opposite Al Pacino in “The Test” (2003) and decidedly launched into commercial cinema with the failed television nostalgia of “SWAT: Harrelson’s Men” (2003) and “Miami Vice” (2006) and, above all, with “Alexander the Great” (2004) by Oliver Stone.
Joel Schumacher, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone had already worked with him, and other acclaimed artists such as Terrence Malick, who entrusted him with the role of John Smith in the colonial film “The New World” (2005), as well as Woody Allen drawing him as the weak brother of the undervalued “Cassandra’s dream” (2007). Martin McDonagh would become his new reference director, being able to extract from him an invaluable comic vis in “Hiding in Bruges” (2008), a black humor film that parodied action and gangster cinema with which he won the Globe of Gold to the best actor of comedy or musical.
It was a new era for the actor, demonstrating a versatility that went beyond his rogue character, increasingly blurred over time, in favor of undeniable professionalism. He was one of three actors who continued Heath Ledger’s unfinished work in Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginary of Doctor Parnassus” (2009), escaped from a gulag on a resistance journey in Peter’s “Road to Freedom” (2010). Weir returned to action in “London Boulevard” (2010), was in the new version of “Fright Night” (2011) and was one of the targets of the comedy “How to End Your Boss” (2011).
It is curious how many revamped versions that Colin Farrell has starred in about successful brands bathed in nostalgia from both film and television. To those already mentioned above was added “Total Challenge” (2012) but an original and casual facet was reserved again for a Martin McDonagh who reunited with him in “Seven Psychopaths” (2012). He also gave life to the father marked by alcohol that so affected the childhood of the writer PL Travers and that inspired the writer to define the father of the children of “Mary Poppins” in “Meeting Mr. Banks” (2013). .
He fell in love with Jessica Chastain from “Miss Julia” (2014) and signed for the second season of “True Detective” (2015) suffering from not living up to expectations after the social phenomenon of the first batch of episodes starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. An impact that she did have for the group of women that she revolutionized in “The Seduction” (2017) by Sofia Coppola.
Instead, and as happened with Joel Schumacher and Martin McDonagh, another director wanted to repeat with him, such was the case of the Greek Yorgos Lanthimos who did not hesitate to give him the leading role in two films as unclassifiable as sick; “Lobster” (2015) and “The sacrifice of a sacred deer” (2017). We were already facing a Farrell who first demonstrated transgressive charm and later, and in this order, validity for commercial and action films, effectiveness for romantic drama, empathetic comic vis and, later, a demonstrable solvency in a sobriety full of naturalness. .
Three other renowned directors had him, such was the case of Steve McQueen in “Widows” (2018), Tim Burton in “Dumbo” (2019) and Guy Ritchie in “The gentlemen: Los señores de la mafia” (2020). . He also participated in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016) and once again took an interpretive turn as the soulless mercenary in the miniseries “La sangre icola” (2021).
There are actors who find a peak moment and recognition in their career with the right role at the right time, which generates a barrage of awards and recognition that until then had been deprived. Colin Farrell is (or was) at that point, having created a current inertia that has at least led him to the Oscar nomination.
Not only for a year in which he has offered such different and dazzling works, but for generating that feeling that he has already had since he left the 2022 Venice Festival with the Volpi Cup. Everything to give life to that ordinary and naive man from a rural Irish community who only wants to recover the friend who has ceased to be. A tender, emotional and human character who generates great empathy with the viewer.
Colin Farrell is an indomitable soul who has always demonstrated professionalism and who, in a professional maturity that has already been reached, his years as a promising young man receding further and further away, has done nothing more than demonstrate what a good and versatile actor he is and the industry has not hesitated to recognize it by being a fixture in all the pools and awards since this Oscar race began. In the end, the statuette is the least of it when you see the zenith of an actor in a state of grace.