But after I watched Starred Up, I looked back at his filmography and I realized that he was the main villain in the underseen horror film Eden Lake which stars a pre-fame Michael Fassbender. When I found out, I was like "Wow, he's a hell of an actor." To me, O'Connell possesses a talent that is so raw and soulful that he even surpasses fellow British breakouts like Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne that have gotten more exposure than he has.
While his performance in Money Monster is a standout, I don't know if it'll do the trick for him in terms of landing an Oscar nomination due to the film's mixed reception and summer release date. But he does have two other films coming out this year: the costume drama Tulip Fever starring Alicia Vikander and the much baitier HHhH which is about the assassination of a Nazi leader and is distributed by the Oscar whisperer Harvey Weinstein. HHhH doesn't have a release date yet so we'll see where that one goes. But with his upcoming film projects along with the Netflix series Godless for Steven Soderbergh, he is starting to build up a profile stateside. So the more U.S. work he does, the more likely he could build momentum for a nomination. Even if it doesn't happen this year, fingers crossed it happens soon.