Everything to Know About Barry Keoghan, the Oscar Nominated Actor in 'Banshees of Inisherin'

The 30-year-old Irish actor received an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination for his role in the Martin McDonagh film

Barry Keoghan attends the AFI Awards Luncheon
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Barry Keoghan had a big year in 2022.

The Irish actor, 30, who starred as Dominic Kearny in Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin, received a Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Academy Award nomination for the role, catapulting him to a new level of stardom.

Born in Dublin, he got his start largely by chance: He took a number from a window advertisement for an open casting call, and eventually booked the role in an Irish crime drama that was released three years later in 2011. From there, he bounced around Irish independent films — and even dabbled in a few episodes of Irish TV soap opera Fair City — before securing his big break in 2017's Dunkirk.

Here's everything you need to know about Barry Keoghan ahead of his Oscars appearance in March.

He lived in 13 foster homes during his childhood in Dublin, Ireland

Keoghan and his brother, Eric, circulated between 13 foster homes during their childhood in Ireland. His mother died when he was 12, he told the Late Late Show's Ryan Tubberty in 2018.

"The drugs hit the area, it affected all the families, and she was one of them that got caught," Keoghan said of his mother, who died at 30.

"The families were good to us, that we went to," Keoghan said of his foster care experience, but added that it was still a difficult way to grow up: "As a kid, you don't know what's happening. You get attached, and them boom, 'Oh, let's move over here.'"

He didn't let a tough start hold him back, though, he said; rather, he "used it as ammunition," and "didn't dwell on it."

"Thirteen homes. If that was on paper, you'd kind of go, he's destined to do — mess up. But I went against it," Keoghan said.

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan The Banshees of Inisherin
Searchlight Pictures/Moviestore/Shutterstock

He's costarred with Oscar winners before

Banshees is not Keoghan's first time starring in a major production. He made his big screen debut alongside Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman in The Killing of a Sacred Deer in 2017, where he starred as a troublemaking teen Martin, who seeks to disrupt the life of Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell). That same year, he starred in Dunkirk alongside Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine as George Mills, a heroic soldier who gave his life to help the evacuation from the French beach.

He's also made a name in the superhero world. In the Marvel film Eternals, he stars alongside stars including Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek as Druig, an other-worldly being who can control minds, who emerges from hiding to help the group of immortal aliens protect Earth from the Deviants.

He had a brief cameo, too, in a deleted scene from Matt Reeves' The Batman as Joker, though he's hoping to get to dive more into the infamous villain in the future.

He also appeared in two episodes of HBO's Chernobyl as Pavel, a young Russian volunteer helping with the nuclear explosion cleanup.

He's a father

In August 2022, Keoghan and girlfriend Alyson Sandro welcomed a son, Brando. Since becoming a father, he's been vocal about the motivation he draws from his son.

When he heard the news of his Oscar nomination, he shared a sweet tribute on his Instagram story. "That ones for you Brando," he wrote alongside a photo of the five Best Supporting Actor nominees. "Daddy loves you ❤️."

@BarryKeoghan The Banshees of Love is in the Air-in
Barry Keoghan Twitter

He's an amateur boxer

Keoghan spent close to 10 years boxing, but took time off as his acting career began to build. He's since returned to the sport, which he credits as being an important source of balance in his life.

"The thing with boxing is, it's the only time I feel really present," he told the New York Times. "You can do meditation — which I don't — but people go on about feeling in the moment, and for me, that's when I'm boxing. You're totally immersed in this state that I can't describe."

He said the sense of calm he gets from being immersed in the sport is similar to the feeling he gets when acting.

He has a close relationship with Colin Farrell

Keoghan said he considers Farrell a brother figure after the two first worked together in 2017, and have since developed a strong friendship. They lived together while filming Banshees — which led Farrell to deal with Keoghan's less-than-ideal roommate habits (eating his Crunchy Nut Cornflakes among them), as he revealed on the Irish Late Late Show with Ryan Tubberty.

"He lived with me during the film, and I'd come in every morning and the f---ing place would be like raccoons were there," Farrell recalled (though, he added, "I love Barry").

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan The Banshees of Inisherin
The Banshees of Inisherin. Searchlight Pictures/Moviestore/Shutterstock

The role of Dominic in Banshees was written for him

In The Banshees of Inisherin — which received nine Academy Award nominations — he stars as Dominic Kearney, the sweet son of the island's police chief who supports Pádraic (Colin Farrell) when his longtime friend Colm (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly ends their relationship.

The role of Dominic (who Keoghan doesn't agree is the "village idiot") was actually written for him, he revealed to the Los Angeles Times. Keoghan said he got a call in March 2020 from Farrell, who said Martin McDonagh, the film's writer and director, had written a script with a character meant for Keoghan.

"I didn't take it in, obviously, but I didn't know what was actually happening. I was like, 'Oh, yeah, yeah, sure,'" he said.

It was only when McDonagh emailed him that he realized Farrell was telling the truth.

"He said something like, 'I've written a part for you in my new movie and I'd love to meet you and talk about it,'" Keoghan recalled. "I said yes right away — I didn't even read the script."

He called McDonagh "one of the best filmmakers out there."

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Colin Farrell, actress Nicole Kidman and actor Barry Keoghan on stage during The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences official academy screening of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Lars Niki/Getty Images

He's got a leading role in Saltburn up next

After being dubbed a "scene stealer" for his ability to capture the audience's focus even as a supporting character, Keoghan is ready to be at the center of the story.

He's getting that chance with Saltburn — an upcoming movie from Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) which will also star Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan and Jacob Elordi.

"It's my first lead role, and the first time I had to really step up in terms of stamina and just being fully committed," he told the New York Times. "I always want to test myself. I don't ever want to get to a stage where I think I have it figured out. So the scene-stealing thing — it's nice, but I don't want to be known as that. I want people to see me and think, 'That boy can hold a movie.'"

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