Among the more notable exports from Ireland are literature, whiskey, Guinness stout, wool sweaters, Waterford crystal – and actors. (These are last year’s best Irish whiskeys.)
To compile a list of the most popular Irish actors right now, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a popularity ranking on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, of more than 3,000 actors born in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ranking is current as of March 14, 2023, but changes almost daily as IMDb users enter new scores.
Ireland has a rich stage tradition that’s produced playwrights from George Bernard Shaw to Samuel Beckett to Martin McDonagh, so it’s not surprising that many Irish actors cut their teeth in the theater before moving on to motion pictures and television.
No Irish actor has ever won an Academy Award for Best Actor or Best Actress, however (though Daniel Day-Lewis – an English-born actor with joint British/Irish citizenship – has won three Best Actor Oscars). Barry Fitzgerald did win Best Supporting Actor in 1945 for “Going My Way,” and Brenda Fricker took home the Best Supporting Actress statue in 1990 for “My Left Foot.”
Click here to see a list of the most popular Irish actors right now
Five of the actors on this list scored Oscar nominations this year, however. Among the nine nominations won by “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a dramedy about the dissolution of a lifelong friendship, were Colin Farrell for Best Actor, Brendon Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for Best Supporting Actor, and Kerry Condon for Best Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon).
Another Irish actor listed here, Paul Mescal, was nominated as best Actor for his role in “Aftersun.” Unfortunately, none of these performers took home a statuette. (These five have been up for an Academy Award only once each, but see this list of the most nominated actors who still don’t have Oscars.)
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