Paul Mescal’s 5 best performance to date (and where to stream them)

From Normal People to Aftersun, here’s a roundup of Paul Mescal’s best film and television roles to date (for anyone who needs proof that the Oscar nominee was always destined for greatness). 

It’s official: our beloved Paul Mescal is an Oscar nominee.

The actor – who caught the Academy’s attention with his performance in Aftersun – is up against the likes of Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees Of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale) and Bill Nighy (Living).

And, yeah, you better believe his family are excited for him:

Love. That. Energy.

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Meanwhile, Mescal has responded to his nomination in a more official statement, saying: “This is truly a special moment for everyone involved in Aftersun. To be recognised by the Academy is such an insane honour, and I’m so utterly grateful.

“I want to dedicate this nomination to my two friends Charlotte and Frankie who I love dearly! This is bananas, thank you!”

To celebrate this glorious news, it’s time to take a look at Mescal’s best performances so far (all of which, handily, are available to watch via a streaming service near you).


Aftersun stars Mescal as Calum, a loving and idealistic father to 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio), and follows the relationship between the two of them, which is retrospectively explored by Sophie’s adult self (Celia Rowlson-Hall) through real and imagined memories. 

A beautifully understated tale of love and loss, this is the performance that earned Mescal his best actor nod, so it’s certainly worth a watch.

Aftersun is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

The Lost Daughter

A truly wrenching film about the joys and challenges of motherhood, The Lost Daughter sees one woman’s quiet seaside vacation take an unsettling turn when her fixation on a young mother staying at a nearby villa awakens memories from her past.

Olivia Colman is obviously brilliant as Leda, but there’s no denying that Mescal shines opposite her as student-turned-pool-boy Will, and we especially love watching THAT scene of them together. You know, the one with the wine, the flirty comments about age and beauty and all of that palpable sexual tension? Yeah, that one.

The Lost Daughter is streaming on Netflix now.

The Deceived

The Deceived is an intriguing thriller starring Paul Mescal.

The Deceived tells the story of a young Cambridge student, Ophelia, who falls in love with her professor, Dr Michael Callaghan. So much so that she follows him to Donegal, where Callaghan’s wife, Roisin, dies in tragic – and deeply suspicious – circumstances.

Aided by volunteer fireman McKeough (hey there, Mescal!), a possibly pregnant Ophelia does her best to unravel the mystery laid out before her. But, as events begin to spiral out of control, it’s not long before she begins to doubt everything she knows about Callaghan, and her own sanity, too. So expect plenty of twists and turns before you get to the end of this psychological thriller.

The Deceived is streaming on Netflix now.

God’s Creatures

Directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, this unnerving psychological drama takes place in a small Irish fishing village, where Aileen O’Hara (Emily Watson) is forced to tell a lie to protect her beloved son, Brian (Mescal), from a life-ruining allegation. As rumours and talk spread, however, fractures begin to form in this tight-knit, insular community – and Aileen is forced to ask herself some very uncomfortable questions.

It’s a very different role for Mescal, who gives a quiet and restrained performance as the golden boy at the centre of this ‘boys will be boys’ story, but God’s Creatures has achieved a 92% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason.

God’s Creatures is available to rent on Apple TV+ and iTunes.

Normal People

Paul Mescal in BBC’s Normal People.

The tale of two Irish teenagers who meet and fall in love at school and later go to university in Dublin, some might assume that Normal People is fluffy romcom fare, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, BBC Three’s critically acclaimed TV series dealt with a number of important themes, including loss, loneliness and consent, and Connell’s struggle with depression – particularly Mescal’s emotionally charged monologue in the show’s penultimate episode – has been held up as one of the most groundbreaking portrayals of men’s mental health ever since.

This is Mescal’s breakout role, so come for the realistic romance, stay for the outrageously good acting, and go away remembering the lesson that his character imparts at the end of it all: that it’s always, always, always OK to accept help, no matter who you are.

Normal People is streaming on BBC iPlayer now.

Images: Getty/BBC/Netflix

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