Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan will go head-to-head for Best Actor Bafta

Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan will go head-to-head for Best Actor Bafta

TWO Irish actors will go head-to-head in the Leading Actor category at this year’s Bafta ceremony.

Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan have both been nominated for what is one of the top gongs on the night, for their roles in Oppenheimer and Saltburn respectively.

Murphy, 47, who hails from Cork, plays the eponymous physicist who led America's development of the atomic bomb in Christopher Nolan’s 2023 blockbuster.

Cillian Murphy is the star of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer

The film has been nominated for 13 Baftas, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Emily Blunt) and Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr).

Saltburn has received five nominations, including Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Jacob Elordi), and Best Supporting Actress (Rosamund Pike).

Dubliner Keoghan, 31, is nominated for his role as Oliver Quick in the psychological thriller directed by Emerald Fennell.

Murphy and Keoghan face four other contenders for the Leading Actor gong, namely Bradley Cooper for Maestro, Colman Domingo for Rustin, Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers and Teo Yoo for Past Lives.

Barry Keoghan in Saltburn

But its familiar territory for the Irish pair, who were both nominated in the Best Actor category for the Golden Globes, which were held earlier this month.

On that occasion fellow Irishman Andrew Scott was also in the Golden Globe shortlist, with the Dublin native nominated for his role in All Of Us Strangers.

Scott hasn't received a nod at the Baftas, but Kildare native Paul Mescal, who stars alongside him in All Of Us Strangers, has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers (Pic: Searchlight Pictures)

Ultimately it was Murphy who took the gong at the 81st Golden Globe ceremony, which was held in Beverly Hills on January 7.

Oppenheimer, which is one of 38 films announced within the Bafta 2024 nominations released today, is expected to do well when the awards ceremony comes around next month.

“The 38 films nominated by BAFTA voters today span an extraordinary range of genres and stories," BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip said this afternoon.

“The field this year is incredibly strong. More films were entered, making the selection process particularly tough for our voting members.”

Cillian Murphy won Best Actor for his Oppenheimer role at the 81st Golden Globe Awards

She added: “The films and talented people nominated represent some of the most talked about films of the year, the most critically acclaimed, and films yet to be released and discovered by audiences.”

The Bafta awards ceremony will take place on February 18 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London. They will be hosted by Doctor Who star David Tennant.